From the desk of Katie Jackson:
Romance stories exist on a spectrum, from the fluffiest feel-good escapism to the powerfully poignant and every combination in between. The very best romances explore relatable emotions with deep insight into how people evolve through relationships. Historical romance author Megan Walker has skillfully crafted her second novel, Miss Newbury’s List, with an appealing authenticity that will satisfy romance enthusiasts who enjoy some heartbreak and humor with their happily-ever-after.
Miss Rosalind Newbury, dutifully engaged to a duke
Miss Newbury has accepted her duty to bring a peerage title to her family and raise their prospects through her marriage of convenience to a duke who has negotiated the transfer of highly desirable land to himself in the arrangement. Her only regret is missing out on the thrill of meeting a potential suitor in a ballroom during a London Season she will never experience.
There’s just one last thing Miss Newbury must accomplish so that she will feel truly ready to commit her life to a veritable stranger—complete the ten items on her childhood list of things to do before she marries.
“I felt it in my bones. The aching. The hope. The surety that this was the key to everything that felt wrong in my life. I’d been so focused on my accomplishments that I’d missed my dreams. I had to claim them before it was too late.” (316)
Charlie Winston, miserably avoiding his duty
When Miss Newbury seeks her best friend’s help to complete her list in the few weeks she has left before permanently handing her independence over to her betrothed, she inadvertently also involves her friend’s enigmatic and infuriating cousin, Charlie Winston. Mr. Winston’s life has not gone according to plan. Grief from a recent loss coupled with the unfortunate consequences of amateur pugilism have led him to escape to his cousin’s house in the country in an effort to avoid responsibility.
“‘Tell me, Miss Newbury. What makes you angry?’
My eyes flicked to his. ‘I am a lady, Mr. Winston. I do not feel anger.’
He lowered his chin. ‘Is that so?’
On second thought, he made me angry. Mr. Winston, with all his strength and pride, embodied every frustration I’d suppressed since my engagement. He thought my life was as easy to fix as his own. That if I waved my fists around, I’d suddenly feel whole and complete and successful.” (814)
Miss Newbury’s List
As the trio work together to complete the whimsical, and sometimes risky, items on the list, the thrill of their adventures are a colorful contrast to the stark background of the looming nuptials and the unavoidable truths that must be faced.
“‘Why would you help me?’
Mr. Winston’s eyes dropped to mine. He gave me a thoughtful, lingering look that seemed to connect us for a beat. ‘Because no one should be rushed into a life they are not prepared for.’
His words seeped into me like warm tea, swirling and settling into my heart. ‘No,’ I agreed. ‘They should not.’” (1046)
I have been greatly anticipating Megan Walker’s next novel ever since I read her lovely debut, Lakeshire Park, and I was not disappointed. Although my implausibility button was ever-so-slightly pushed by the convenient resolution of some fraught scenarios, overall, the sweet story was captivating from start to finish. Indeed, I was utterly charmed by the authentic characters and inspirational exploration of duty versus desire. The slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance was delightful, even while heartbreaking at times.
Readers seeking a meaningful and genuine love story will be enchanted by Miss Newbury’s List.
5 out of 5 Stars
- Miss Newbury’s List: Proper Romance Regency, by Megan Walker
- Shadow Mountain (February 5, 2023)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (368) pages
- ISBN: 978-1639930524
- Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction
AMAZON | SHADOW MOUNTAIN PUBLISHING | ADD TO GOODREADS
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Cover image courtesy of Shadow Mountain Publishing © 2023; text Katie Jackson © 2023, austenprose.com, an Amazon affiliate.
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Thanks for the lovely review, Katie. I really enjoyed Megan Walker’s first novel, Lakeshire Park, and am looking forward to reading this. The premise is intriguing.
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You’re welcome, LA! I’m certain you will enjoy Miss Newbury’s List.
Fun how they’re working from her dream list. Enjoyed your review, Katie!
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It was fun. Definitely some unique items on the list! Thanks, Sophia!