From the desk of Katie Patchell:
While most of Jane Austen’s beloved novels are set in the countryside or resort towns, there is one that stands out from the rest because of its tantalizing glimpses of life at sea: Persuasion. In Jane Austen’s novel, readers discover her own admiration for the daring men in the British Navy with her addition of the remarkable Captain Wentworth into her cast of Regency heroes. Debut author Jennifer Moore follows Jane Austen’s lead by focusing on Navy life during the 1800s in her 2014 Regency romance, Becoming Lady Lockwood, a novel featuring a brave heroine, heroic captain, and the excitement and peril of life on the high seas.
At twenty, Amelia Beckett has happily accepted her sudden widowhood—after all, she’d never met Lord Lawrence Walter Drake, Earl of Lockwood, the man her father had forced her to marry. Amelia expects her life to continue as before; her father, now content, would continue living a debauched lifestyle in London, and she would run the family’s sugarcane plantation in Jamaica, finally free of chaperones and matchmakers. But Amelia’s plans are dashed when her father commands her to travel to London in order to fight for Lord Lawrence Drake’s fortune, and he sends the one man who will fight against her rights in court to pick her up: Captain William Drake, brother to Amelia’s deceased husband, and new Earl of Lockwood.
Captain William Drake has disliked Amelia Becket ever since the moment he heard about her rushed marriage to his brother, and fully expects to meet a manipulative social climber who wants to steal his inheritance. When he arrives at her estate, William is shocked to discover that Amelia is unlike what he imagined, and that she doesn’t want, or need, his brother’s money. During the voyage to England, Amelia soon discovers that William isn’t the horrible man she first thought he was, and as William gets to know Amelia, he realizes just how high the stakes really are in the case for the Lockwood fortune. When their ship is ordered too close to enemy lines, can they save themselves and their crew from the enemy? And will they be able to find the traitor in their midst before the court’s final decision is revealed?
One of my favorite things about Becoming Lady Lockwood was its focus on the navy and life at sea during the Regency. As compared to other novels in this era, where much of the action is set in dancing halls or drawing rooms, Moore’s setting for the majority of Becoming Lady Lockwood was a man-of-war Royal Navy ship. While I can happily seclude myself on my window seat for hours on end reading the comedy of manners style of Regency novels, I enjoyed Becoming Lady Lockwood’s different focus and setting, which was as educational as it was entertaining. The hero and heroine had a unique relationship, and their scenes together as well as the loveable secondary characters forced me to overcome my dislike of dog-earring page corners.
With Moore’s spotlight on the British navy and lovely romance between hero and heroine, Becoming Lady Lockwood is a novel I believe Jane Austen herself would approve of. I look forward to reading more by this author, and in the meantime, will begin my own scholarly quest for more information about this interesting branch of England’s military during the Regency.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Becoming Lady Lockwood: A Regency Romance, by Jennifer Moore
Covenant Communications, Inc. (2014)
Trade paperback & eBook (208) pages
Cover image courtesy of Covenant Communications, Inc. © 2014; text Katie Patchell © 2015, Austenprose.com
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