by Victoria Alexander, historical (2007)
Avon, $3.99, ISBN 978-0-06-153692-2
Lady Amelia's Secret Lover is available only as an electronic book from the HarperCollins online bookstore. There is also a "video ebook" format of this story on sale. I was given a sneak peek of the "video ebook" a few months ago by someone from HarperCollins who then chickened out from giving me access to the whole thing. Hmmph. Let's just say that I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of Victoria Alexander doing her best Barbara Cartland impersonation to "enrich" my reading experience. Maybe I'll be more open to the whole video thing if they get a shirtless Hugh Jackman to read aloud the book to me. Still, for its length of about 80 pages in PDF format, this book is actually quite reasonably priced if I am to compare it with other stories of similar length in the market, which is far more than what I can say for those Harlequin Mini short stories.
In this one, Lady Amelia Hathaway decides that she needs to find a way to rejuvenate her six-year marriage to her husband Robert. Things have become rather stale as two of them have taken each other for granted so much that they inevitably drift apart over the years. She decides that maybe some drastic measures should be taken to jolt Robert from his increasing indifference to her so she announces one morning over breakfast to Robert that she wants to take a lover. Maybe an affair with Harry, Robert's more flashy and outgoing twin brother, is just what she is looking for.
If you suspect that Robert is going to impersonate Harry in a hare-brained effort to seduce his wife, you will be wrong. Robert initially wanted to do that, but Harry is there to knock some sense back into his head by telling him that the only way to win back his wife is to show her that he still loves her and finds her sexually desirable. Amelia doesn't really want a new boyfriend, of course, she just wants to find a way to stop their marriage from turning into a more typical Ton marriage where they both seek companionship with their lovers instead of with each other.
What I really like about Lady Amelia's Secret Lover is how it isn't a typical silly Regency romance but rather an often witty, astute, and mature look into how two people whose marriage is in a rut can rediscover love all over again. The story does feel like a group therapy at times, but that's fine with me because the characters are most entertain to follow. The secondary characters interact with Robert and Amelia like the best of sitcom hangers-on - they humorously force these two to reexamine their feelings and find ways to reconnect with each other. Best of all, I often find myself grinning because oh, I can really relate to what Amelia and Robert say and feel here, heh.
This one is a blast from start to finish. In fact, I think I enjoy this one much more than I've enjoyed the author's dead tree books for Avon. This one is not as formulaic as too many Avon Regency romances tend to be. In fact, there is an adorably relatable and mature approach to the author's peeling away of her characters to reveal their innermost feelings to me, the reader. Needless to say, this one gets my two thumbs up.
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