From the desk of Sophia Rose:
It all started when a Wallflower wrote a letter.
After the sparkling and fun hit, Mr. Malcolm’s List, author Suzanne Allain returns with Miss Lattimore’s Letter, a new, engaging Regency romp featuring an unexpected and reluctant matchmaker and a social season in Bath to determine the outcome of her efforts. A light and quick read for wiling away a few pleasurable reading moments.
A Heroine on the Shelf
“It had been many years since Sophronia Lattimore used her fan as a means of flirtatious conversation.” (1)
When Sophie’s last remaining parent died, she was taken in by her aunt and finds herself at twenty-eight, on the shelf and escorting her younger, vibrant cousin Cecilia for her first London Season.
An Anonymous Matchmaker
Sophie’s people watching and listening leads her to notice four people who are all privately miserable because the wrong pairings are in progress. Determined to see them all find their chance at happiness, she anonymously writes a letter which sets all to rights.
This successful matchmaking work has become the talk of London and word gets out that she was the author of the letter. Her obscurity is now a thing of the past and a very eligible, likeable and handsome man, Sir Edmund Winslow, has taken notice and desires her acquaintance to talk about matching him up. Or so she believes.
“Is Lizzy Bennet your ideal, then?” Sophie asked.
“Of course. A woman of wit and good sense, determined to marry not for advantage, but affection. She is precisely who I am looking for.”
Sophie shook her head in mock despair. “But, Sir Edmund, therein lies your problem. She doesn’t exist.”
“There must surely be ladies like her, however. Look at you,” he said.” (25)
Multiple Couples Meet in Bath
With her aunt under the impression that a wealthy baronet might come to be interested in Cecilia along with the affable Mr. Hartwell already dancing attendance, she is determine to remove them to Bath closer to Sir Edmund’s estate. Bath becomes the destination for the Beswicks whom Sophie helped pair up with her letter and, to her consternation, Mr. Maitland. It is the home of an aristocratic dowager whom Aunt Foster cultivates to be accepted in the highest circles of Bath Society.
Second Chance and New Romance
Maitland was the man who walked away from their courtship in the past to marry for wealth and advantage. Sophie feels the connection with Sir Edmund, but now is tempted by a second chance since she is unsure if Sir Edmund would ever consider the Poor Relation. Meanwhile, Cecilia finds herself capturing the attention of a Viscount, no less, and might wait until too late to discover which gentleman of her acquaintance can truly make her happy.
A Sparkling Comedy of Errors
Miss Lattimore’s Letter invites the reader to join Sophie and Cecilia in Bath for their romantic misadventures and little foibles. Not digging terribly deeply and a few slower moments when either lady seemed to be dithering, but mostly engaging. Light of nature and gentle of pace, it is a sparkling comedy of errors.
“I shall never understand you, Miss Lattimore. Here we are, at the wedding celebration of a match you instigated, and yet you have an aversion to making matches.”
“It is not an aversion. It is just…a profound respect, I suppose, for the institution… (Matrimony) is not to be taken unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and soberly, and in fear of God.”
“I think you left out a portion,” Sir Edmund said, with a wicked twinkle in his eye.
And Sophie, who had knowingly omitted the part about how marriage should not be undertaken to ‘satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites,” had a difficult time keeping a straight countenance.” (41-42)
Tolerable Love Triangle
Each character is engaging. Sophie is the central figure and has the predominant narration time. She has been taught to devalue herself by an indifferent aunt and cousin. Sophie must discover that she is worthy. I’m not a fan of love triangles, but, in this case, I tolerated it—a chance for Sophie to come to terms with her past as well as shine when a worthy gentleman shows her attention.
Sir Edmund, Cecilia, and Lawrence Hartwell also get narration time. Sir Edmund is something of an enigma until near the end when his reticence is explained. As to Cecilia, her mother taught her to reach high because of her looks and decent dowry so it took her some time to see the treasure of the man who had been constant through all her playing hot and cold with him. I was prepared to dislike Cecilia for her behavior toward Sophie, but she changed along the way and really grew out of her self-absorption.
A Last Dance
Miss Lattimore’s List had light drama set off by well-placed comedy. The overall story felt balanced and amusing—easy reading—as sweet as a coveted dessert. Recommend to those who enjoy old-style light Regency Romance with a dash of wit and lively characters.
4 out of 5 Stars
- Miss Lattimore’s Letter: A Novel, by Suzanne Allain
- Berkley Romance (August 10, 2021)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (272) pages
- ISBN: 978-0593197424
- Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Berkley Romance © 2021; text Sophia Rose © 2022, austenprose.com.
Hello Dear Readers,
Did you know that Suzanne Alain is also a screenwriter? Her novel Mr. Malcolm’s List is being made into a movie. Read our book review.
If you enjoy historical romance with witty dialogue, engaging plots, and endearing characters, Austenprose highly recommends Alain’s books.
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Laurel Ann Nattress, editor