Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern – A 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 taken 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.

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 the 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 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 Stars

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

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

24 thoughts on “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure: A Regency Short Story, by Candice Hern – A Review

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  1. Wow! That sounds like such a great story! I absolutely love quirky romances. Im so very interested in how it will all play out. I very much want to meet these two characters. They seem rather charming. I love that it seems like they’re enjoying the simple things in life. And its even sweeter that theyre intended to be wed and its an unknown piece. Makes it very interesting. I would absolutely love to read this story ^_^ sounds fabulous!


  2. OK, first of all I thought I had successfully registered for this challenge right in the new year but my memory is failing as to whether I went back to make sure I actually accomplished it after all, indeed. In any case, I don’t have a blog nor do I contribute to anyone’s blog except by commenting, so I’m afraid the best publicity you’ll get out of me is that I totally did read all of these books, and would have read the last one to come if it had come out in September, as we all thought it would. I guess that just means I have just a little more time to wait for her last or next one? I agreed with everything your review said. Miss Hern is a wonderful regency writer and if I could have my wish she’d stay in this genre forever, but we each of us usually find new things we are interested to try so I doubt we’ll get to claim her for too long, so let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your excessively diverting series of books. This means that my Kindle Fire will accompany me on any trips, just as it does today, and I can be reading Miss Hern, possibly anywhere in the world! Superior Series!


    1. So glad you enjoyed all of the books Karen. It was fun to discover her and share her with my readers. You can post any of your reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads too, which will help get the word out and encourage Candice to continue writing them. We can look forward to Social Climber maybe early next year or sooner.


  3. I too loved the fun of this story line and wished it were longer!… (I have it on my kindle so no need to enter me in the drawing)… And I too enjoyed Ms. Hern’s Regency stories read for this challenge and thank Laurel Ann for the opportunity and her great reviews!


  4. I have not read any of Candice Hern work before but it should be an enjoyable read to re-visit the parts of London that I will probably know after living their for many years. My favourite place would be any of the parks


  5. I completely agree with you Laurel Ann; Candice Hern’s books are delightful, and this one is no exception. I. too, have it on my Kindle, so don’t enter me in the contest, I, too, have read all her books, and am real fan. Did you know that she will be speaking at the JASNA AGM this weekend, and will also be exhibiting some of her collection of Regency items? Here’s a link for those of us who can’t make it to Minneapolis:


  6. That sounds like a lot of fun! I love Georgette Heyer-esque stories. The funny ones are always the best. I’m laid up with a nasty cold/respiratory bug and a digital short story is just the thing to cheer me up.


  7. This is a great premise for a story! I would enjoy reading about daily life in Regency London, and wonder if this privileged pair get to see the little boy chimney-sweeps, orphans begging in the streets, disabled veterans from the Napoleonic Wars. Do they see the hulks on the water as they ride by in his curricle? Do they drive through the Regency version of a red-light district? If not, I too vote for a full-length novel!


  8. What a fabulous story! I love the thought of Regency “upper crust” letting go of the rules (or most of them, at least) and exploring life. What a perfect way to get to know your future spouse, even if neither know about the other. Roman Holiday absolutely came to mind and once I picked it up I couldn’t stop reading. Finished it in one sitting with three weeks to spare, then forgot all about leaving a review!

    Agree that I’d love to see this developed into a full novel, or perhaps a novel that picks up from the marriage to see how this couple’s love of life progresses and how it affects their family, their peers, the ton, etc. Such happy, intelligent and energetic characters – they surely would leave their mark.

    I started out never having read Regency Romance and never having participated in a reading challenge. In the beginning, when I signed up, I was hoping to get through 3 – 5 of Ms. Hern’s works. As it turns out, I read every single one of the challenges and loved them all. Thank you, Ms. Hern, for showing me another fun and informative genre. I will definitely “stay tuned” for more.


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