Giveaway Winner Announced for Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure

Lady Ann's Excellent Adventure by Candice Hern (2012)24 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure, by Candice Hern. The winner drawn at random is:

  • Vesper who left a comment on September 26, 2013

Congratulations Vesper! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October, 9, 2013. Ebook shipment internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013. It has been great fun. This concludes our reading challenge for the year. I hope you can join us again in the future.

Book cover image courtesy of © 2012 Candice Hern; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern – A Review & Giveaway

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge (2013)This is my eighth and final selection in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013, our celebration of romance author Candice Hern. We have read all of her traditional Regencies over the last nine months, discussed her characters, plots and Regency history. Her next novel Social Climber was scheduled for release in October but has been extended to January. Participants in the challenge, please leave comments and or links to your reviews for this month in the comment section of this post.

My Review:

Have you ever read a short story and wished it was a full length novel? That is how I felt after completing “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure.” Short and sweet at 43 pages, Candice Hern has introduced characters that I instantly loved and wanted to know more about. What grabbed me so immediately you ask? The humor and effervescent theme.

In this brief format an author must use every word and sentence to advance the narrative quickly to its conclusion. Hern wastes no time by introducing the two main characters in an outrageous and humorous way: our hero, the Earl of Evesham, is test driving his new curricle down Park Lane in London and spies a young woman perched in a tree attempting to make her way over a fence. Caught by her skirts on a branch, she is  prevented from progressing and literally up a tree! The unusual sight of a finely dressed woman in such a predicament is quite intriguing to the lord, but the fact that she is attempting to escape from the garden of the royal owner that he was appointed to meet the next day to make a formal offer for his daughter’s hand is even more interesting. It is an arranged marriage since his boyhood and he has not seen his future fiancé since she was a child. Could this pretty young lady be his intended? No. It was highly unlikely that Lady Ann of Gloucester, daughter of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and niece to the king would be dangling from a tree in the fashionable Mayfair district. Was she instead a housebreaker escaping with the family silver? Who could this “adorable sprite” be?

She quickly shares that she is running away from her life—for a day—her last day of freedom before her life changes forever and she sacrifices herself to the “altar of duty.” That cinched it. She was his intended. He offers to help her down on one condition: that he be allowed to escort her on her adventure. She agrees and an unlikely alliance begins: and before it’s merry conclusion we are take on a grand spree through several amusing sites in Regency London: to Hyde Park to watch a balloon accent, to Black Friars Bridge to eat oysters, to Ludgate Hill to admire the shops where he buys her perfume, to Pasternoster Row to browse print and book shops where he purchases The Picture of London for 1802, Being a Correct Guide to all of the Curiosities, Amusements, Exhibitions, Public Establishments and Remarkable Objects in and near London, for the use of Stragers, Foreigners, and all Persons who are not acquainted with the British Metropolis. In short, a tourist guide book! She is delighted with all that she experiences, and most importantly him.

Lady Ann's Excellent Adventure by Candice Hern (2012)Assuming a name to hide his true identity and the connection to her family, along the way they inadvertently run across his friends who want to meet this pretty young lady; one even thinks she is his new ladybird! But, he is determined to keep up the ruse. “As the day progressed and he’d grown increasingly fond of her, even a little infatuated, he’d begun to feel a tad guilty at his deception. Even so, he was oddly reluctant to give it up. He was enjoying himself too much.” And so are we.

What a fun romp through some unusual sites in London that the Ton may not have frequented – and that was the point. Lady Ann wanted to experience life of the common man; to see their entertainments and live her life as a commoner in one day. Lord Evesham is a capable and charming guide, enjoying her wide-eyed amazement with a fresh perspective and a growing appreciation for the woman who would hopefully become his wife. But now how will he ever transition into the earl who she is pledged to marry, and will she be too angry and embarrassed to accept him when she discovers his deception?

A delightfully breezy and upbeat glimpse at two aristocrats playing hooky from duty and decorum, “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure” is all that its title promised. It is Roman Holiday meets Georgette Heyer and I could not be more enchanted with this reverse fairytale of two strangers who climb down from the their high perch and enjoy the simple life and each other without inhibitions or preconceived assumptions. I was so captivated by each of the protagonists that I did not want their story to end. Like the conclusion of the delightful movie Roman Holiday, they do have to face the reality of their return to royalty, but their lives will never be burdened with regret.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern
Candice Hern (2012)
Digital book (43) pages
ASIN: B00ASF1CC2

A Grand Giveaway

Author Candice Hern has generously offered one digital copy of “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure” to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this story, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is or what spot they visited in London that you enjoyed most by midnight PT, Wednesday, October 02, 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, October 03, 2013. Digital copy delivery internationally.  Good luck!

Cover image courtesy of Candice Hern © 2012; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Giveaway Winner Announced for Miss Lacey’s Last Fling

Miss Lacey's Last Fling, by Candice Hern (2012)22 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of Miss Lacey’s Last Fling, by Candice Hern. The winner drawn at random is

  • Elsie who left a comment on July 26, 2013

Congratulations Elsie! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by August 7, 2013. Please tell me if you would like a print or digital version of the book. Print book shipment to US addresses, or eBook internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013. It has been great fun. Our next review of “Lady Anne’s Excellent Adventure: A Regency Short Story,” will be on Wednesday, August 28th. I hope you can join us.

Book cover image courtesy of © 2012 Candice Hern; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Miss Lacey’s Last Fling: A Regency Romance, by Candice Hern – A Review

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge (2013)This is my seventh selection in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013, our celebration of romance author Candice Hern. We will be reading all of her traditional Regencies over the next nine months, discussing her characters, plots and Regency history. Sign-ups for the challenge are now closed but you can still follow along and leave comments. Participants, please leave comments and or links to your reviews for this month in the comment section of this post.

My Review:

To be considered over the hill at age twenty six seems outrageous today, but in Regency times, young ladies married in their mid-teens or became spinsters who cared for their parents and siblings children. Tragically our heroine Rosie, eldest daughter of Sir Edmund Lacey of Wycombe Hall, Devonshire, did not have a choice to marry young and now resides “on the shelf” where Society places ladies who are not deemed marriageable.

Since her mother’s early demise ten years ago, she has quietly raised her five siblings without complaint. Now that they are all settled, and she can think of herself beyond being a substitute nanny/housekeeper/mother, she discovers that she too is afflicted with the same malady that took her mother’s life. With only six months to live she wants to “burst out of her tight laces before it is too late” and experience everything she has been deprived of: a life in London away from her dry as a twig father and overbearing younger sister to discover the delights of Society, the opera, theatre, museums and a bit of scandalous romance too. Who better to introduce her to the life she craves than her notorious Aunt Fanny? Against her families wishes she sets off for Miss Lacey’s Last Fling.

Widow Frances, Lady Parkhurst is not keen to chaperone her priggish, docile, country mouse niece who lands on her Berkeley Square doorstep. Her young friend, the notorious rake Maxwell Davenant, does not think much of her obligation to help her niece and immediately declines any assistance in the endeavor. After eighteen seasons and half of his life spent in pursuit of women, drink and gambling, he is bored to distraction. This dowdy Miss does not interest him in the least. Whatever could Fanny be thinking? The absurdity of Lady Parkhurst being a chaperone to any respectable young lady was however, delightfully intriguing.

Miss Laceys Last Fling, by Candice Hern (c) 2012Rosie arrives all wide eyed and frumpy as expected, but immediately surprises her aunt with the admission that she is not there to entrap a husband—but to see the sights and have a good time. She confides that she has always admired her aunt because she did exactly what she wanted to do, and now she wants to do the same, starting with a complete makeover. She wants to look “sophisticated, worldly and rightly flirt with a rake.” Her surprising honesty wins Lady Parkhurst over and they set their plan in motion: off to the dressmaker for a completely new wardrobe of brightly colored frocks and to the hairdresser to shear off her long locks into a fashionably cropped style.

Her first official social outing is a rout filled with “fresh faced young fops to seasoned rakes to aging roués,” and one jaded Max Davenant who does not recognize the ravishing young lady standing next to Lady Parkhurst receiving all the attention in the room. Rosalind’s nose is still too long and her mouth too wide to be considered a reputed beauty, but she cuts a dashing figure in her new frock and sheared hair style. He is intrigued. Could a man tainted by years of debauchery and seduction be interested in a twenty six year old anti-debutant who has no interest in marriage and just wants to have fun? Heck YES!

After a private conversation with the notorious Max on the terrace, Rosie can now mark flirting with a rake off her list of what she wants to experience. Here’s what’s next:

  • Visit the Tower of London
  • Drive a sporting vehicle
  • Ride in a sedan chair
  • Be thoroughly kissed

Max and Aunt Fanny aid in her headlong fling through London Society scandalizing matrons at Almack’s, sipped gin with the Dandies and Corinthians at the Daffy Club and to gamming hell on Jermyn Street. There is nothing she won’t try when consequences do not signify. Max and Rosie appear to be complete opposites, but are they?

A fun frolic from beginning to end, I have not been so thoroughly entertained in years. I laughed; I cried; and could not put it down. You too will be delighted by Miss Lacey and her unabashedly adventurous spirit. Who could not love a woman who during a time when social decorum and appearances were everything, she throws propriety out the window and turns society on its ear? Hern’s historical research is as impeccable as always, but it is her characterizations that really shine. From the hysterically over-the-top Aunt Fanny (the Aunty Mame of the Regency Ton) and the depraved lost soul of Max Davenant, you will be charmed and enchanted with every scene. Following Rosie, or the transformed Rosalind, on her journey will send you into peals of laughter with her high spirits and outrageous antics. Rosie might have started off as a milk and water miss, but Rosalind is a diamond of the first water!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Miss Lacey’s Last Fling: A Regency Romance, by Candice Hern
CreateSpace (2012)
Trade paperback (232) pages
ISBN: 978-1479278084

A Grand Giveaway

Author Candice Hern has generously offered one digital or one print copy of Miss Lacey’s Last Fling to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this story, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, August 01, 2013. Digital copy delivery internationally. Print copy shipped to US addresses. Good luck!

Cover image courtesy of Candice Hern © 2012; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures by Candice Hern © 2011 Candice HernThe lucky winner in the Desperate Measures giveaway is…

  • Bev who left a comment on June 27, 2013

Congratulations. To claim your prize of one digital copy of the short story please contact me with your full name and address and the digital format you would like.

Thanks to all who left comments. The Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 featuring Candice Hern continues through August when Candice’s latest novel Lady Anne’s Excellent Adventure debuts. I hope you can join us each month.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Cover image courtesy Candice Hern © 2011; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose

Desperate Measures: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern – A Review

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge (2013)This is my sixth selection in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013, our celebration of romance author Candice Hern. We will be reading all of her traditional Regencies over the next nine months, discussing her characters, plots and Regency history. Make haste! You can still join the reading challenge until July 1, 2013. Participants, please leave comments and or links to your reviews for this month in the comment section of this post.

My Review:

Unrequited love can force a girl into desperate measures—a scheme that Lydia Bettridge’s brother Daniel has concocted—and she is uncertain will work. Before the most important ball of the season he will procure his friend Philip Hartwell to sweep her off her feet in front of the object of her affection making him wild with jealousy. But when Philip is detained from the ball and unknowingly asks the object of her affection Geoffrey Danforth to be the swain who sweeps, Lydia is thrown for a loop. NO—he was to be the jealous lover, not the one to make her lover jealous! Thankfully Geoffrey does not know who the object of the game is and Lydia is not going to tell him! But now everything is topsy-turvy. How was she going to make him think of her as a beautiful, desirable young woman and not the little sister of his best friend? It does not help that he is so eager to play the part, especially since he has never singled out any woman in his life and will draw the attention of Society by playing the “mooncalf” with her. He was determined to make everyone in the room believe that he was madly in love with her, and he did, even Lydia! It was totally glorious—except that it was not real. Pressed to reveal whom Geoffrey is to make jealous, Lydia picks the first man she sees, the infamous rake Lord Tennison. Shocked, he tries to warn her off, but Lydia claims she needs excitement in her life. Always the obliging gentleman, Geoffrey promises to play the part to the nines and have Tennison falling at her feet before the night’s end. Desperate Measures © Candice Hern 2011

“Desperate Measures” is a charming short story introducing readers who love Regency romance, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen to the talents of novelist Candice Hern. It has a happy ending of course, but not before the reader is swept into a ball room and into the arms of a blue-eyed swain who makes Lydia and anyone with a heart weak in the knees. I hope she is inspired to expand the story and characters into a full novel. An excerpt of her novel The Best Intensions follows the short story, leaving one craving more on both fronts.

4.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Desperate Measures: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern
Candice Hern (2011)
Digital eBook (34) pages
ASIN: B00539TLVM

A Grand Giveaway 

Author Candice Hern has generously offered one digital copy of “Desperate Measures” to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this short story, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 03, 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, July 04, 2013. Digital copy delivery internationally. Good luck!

Book cover image courtesy © Candice Hern 2011; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for The Best Intentions

The Best Intentions, by Candice Hern © 2012 28 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of The Best Intentions, by Candice Hern. The winner drawn at random is

  • Kelli H. who left a comment on May 27, 2013

Congratulations Kelli! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by June 5, 2013. Please tell me if you would like a print or digital version on the book. Print book shipment to US addresses, or eBook internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013. The challenge is open until July 1st, 2013, so please check out the details and sign up today!

Book cover image courtesy of © 2012 Candice Hern; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Best Intentions: A Regency Romance, by Candice Hern – A Review

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge (2013)This is my fifth selection in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013, our celebration of Regency romance author Candice Hern. We will be reading all of her traditional Regencies over the next nine months, discussing her characters, plots and Regency history. You can still join the reading challenge until July 1, 2013. Participants, please leave comments and or links to your reviews for this month in the comment section of this post.

My Review:

Hell is paved with good intentions.” ― Samuel Johnson

I just couldn’t resist throwing in this famous quote by the great literary genius, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer of the 18th century, Samuel Johnson. His moral and literary influence on Jane Austen has been well documented by scholars. Austen’s inspiration on her beneficiaries including Georgette Heyer, the greatest Regency romance novelist of the 20th century, and now the next generation with Candice Hern gives her novel The Best Intentions a six degrees of separation that writers dream about. The hero, heroine, antagonist and secondary characters all act with “good intentions” using moral judgment to rationalize their actions. What ensues is a social comedy of manners that takes a sly look at what motivates Society in the Regency era—and like Johnson, Austen and Heyer, Hern gives us a dose of humor and romance to soften reality.

It is 1814. Peace is at hand in England after decades of war with France. Bonaparte has been exiled to Elba and British soldiers are returning home. Like Jane Austen’s novels, The Best Intentions is not about the war or government politics. It is about two or three county families at a manor house in Northamptonshire and two people who do not want to marry anyone, but by social stricture must do so, and how the best intentions of their family and friends try to influence them.

Miles Prescott, the Earl of Strickland, has secretly put himself back on the marriage market after the death of his wife two years ago. After his failed first attempt to attach himself to a new bride two months ago at a country house party at Chissingworth, (A Garden Folly), he is dead set against a young romantic Miss and determined to find an older woman who has known love and only seeks security and comfort. He jokes that he will marry anyone who likes his two daughters, and, is young enough to give him an heir. His older sister Lady Tyndale is an unstoppable force. She is determined to see him married and arrives at Epping Hall with two cousins in tow: Lady Abingdon, a beautiful young widow, and her nineteen-year old half-sister, bookish and unpolished Hannah Fairbanks. Presently acting as Hannah’s chaperone, Charlotte wants to “seriously pursue this fine lord without the added baggage of an unmarried, bookish bumpkin under her wing.” On the other hand, Hannah is not interested in courtship and marriage, at all. The only true pleasures in her life are books and architecture. The one reason she is being somewhat reasonable about this trip is to see St. Biddulph’s church near Eppingham, the most historically significant Saxon building in England.

Unpolished and impulsive, things pop out of Hannah’s mouth before she knows it, a bracing surprise to the earl and his guests at Epping Hall, but a humorous and enlightening for the reader! The contrast between this geekish colt of a girl and her calculating older sister is startling:

Men were stupid creatures, Hannah decided as she watched the earl and Mr. Wetherby chatting with Charlotte on the other side of the drawing room as they waited for dinner to be announced. How easily they fell victim to her sister’s manufactured charm. They appeared completely captivated. Charlotte had their undivided attention as she spoke to them in her whispery for-gentlemen-only voice.” p. 50

Image of the book cover of The Best Intentions, © Candice Hern 2012 Like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Hern gives the reader the opportunity to question “what is the difference in matrimonial affairs between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?” Hannah may be straight out of the schoolroom, but she sees quite clearly the way of the world—the motivations of both men and women for matrimony—sex and money, and she wants no part of it. Lord Stickland has known love and lost it; he now is resigned to settle for an unromantic alliance. Will he choose the wife that his sister and his defeated spirit want, or the most unlikely of the two cousins?

Even though I guessed in the first chapter who would end up with whom, the character arch in The Best Intentions is one of the most memorable of Hern’s novels. Hannah Fairbanks is my favorite of her heroines: she is like a cross between Austen’s young, impressionable Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey and spirited and outspoken Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice; two heroines I greatly admire, who when combined cancel out their negative characteristics and blend to make one unique and delightful young lady. The reserved and practical Miles is a hunk to boot, so get ready for witty dialogue and swoon worthy romance. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Best Intentions: A Regency Romance, by Candice Hern
CreateSpace (2012)
Trade paperback (232) pages
ISBN: 978-1479277599

A Grand Giveaway

Author Candice Hern has generously offered one print copy or one digital copy of The Best Intentions to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, May 28, 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, May 29, 2013. Print book shipment to US addresses only. Digital copy delivery internationally. Good luck!

Book cover image courtesy © Candice Hern 2012; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose