Since finishing Dancing the Maypole, I’ve been gorging on other people’s stories. I’ve impulsively ordered quite a few books in various genres. My favorite novel out of the pile would have to be A Garden Folly by Candice Hern. I’d never read her before, though I’d seen her books on Amazon. Over the decades I’ve probably read well over a thousand Regency romances. Since I started writing novels in the late nineties, I’ve mainly been drawn to non-fiction. The last two months I feel like I’ve come to the surface story-starved. I found just what I needed. A Garden Folly; a Regency Romance. I’d say it’s a classic, but it’s better than the classics. If you enjoy my stories you will probably enjoy this one.
The plot is simple with a fairy tale sparkle. Two impoverished sisters and their Aunt are invited to a house party. Catherine, the heroine, is determined that at least one of them will find a rich husband (because she’s sick of being hungry). The hero, a Duke, is a shy recluse who spends most of his time working in his gardens. He refuses to take part in his mother’s party and would run away to avoid the husband hunting ladies (who sicken him – he longs to be loved for himself and not his money or title), but he stays to oversee the building of a giant glasshouse for his plants. To avoid onerous duties he makes his mother promise not to reveal that he’s in residence. Catherine, one of the poor sisters, loves flowers. Not having had the luxury of being near flowers for several years, she ventures out early into the gardens and while bending over to admire a rare violet a man dressed like a gardener comes charging around the corner and falls on her. Amazed that she hasn’t recognized him as the Duke, he impulsively tells her his name is Stephen Archibald (his first two names). The deception continues…
This is my favorite sort of romance. You get the story from both the hero and heroine’s perspective…and most of the story is spent with the two main characters. The best part of the story is the hero. He made me laugh! It’s a sweet funny romance. I made the mistake of picking it up late Saturday evening just to read a few chapters and couldn’t put it down until I finished about five thirty Sunday morning. All the while knowing I was supposed to be out the door at a quarter past nine to get to church. After three hours sleep I was running late, but I had a lovely lovely day. How can you not have a lovely day after reading a funny romance?
I think the book deserves five stars.
PS If you have any suggestions of other novels you think I might enjoy do let me know. I don’t know how long my novel addiction will last, but I’ve ordered Candice Hern’s A Change of Heart. I hope they send it quick!