TreasureLine Publishing, $0.99, ISBN 978-1617521911
Historical Romance, 2016
Jaimey Grant’s Gertrude’s Grace comes with a subtitle, A Short Regency
Romance… uh, Comedy (complete with the striking out effect), and I am in need of clean, wholesome fun after some of the… things… I reviewed recently, so hey, G-rated love times, here I come!
Lady Gertrude Shiveley’s backside connected with the drawing room floor. Her pink muslin skirts flew up, revealing a pair of plump legs in pale pink stockings.
Masculine chuckles and feminine giggles followed on the heels of her ignominious downfall. Gertrude winced, but the sting to her bottom was nothing compared to the bruise to her pride.
Ah, that kind of comedy. It’s hard to laugh, though, when our poor heroine just can’t seem to stop committing one faux pas after another despite her best intentions and care. This is where the author gets me: instead of making Gertrude a fake, secretly sexy babe that is perfect all along—you just need to take off her glasses, that kind of thing—she instead has our heroine come off as a pretty real person, one that is just not good at thriving in a society made up of rigid rules and cults of catty personalities. Some people just aren’t cut out to live in such an environment, and I feel bad for Gertrude. She tries, but she just isn’t good at being a proper Society lady.
Fortunately, she has a champion in the Duke of Chatterton. He doesn’t follow the rules much either, but because he is a duke, he is considered dashing and unique instead of a laughingstock.
The biggest thing this one has working against it is its length. There is a kernel of a good story here, of an ugly duckling finally finding her footing and grace, but because the author needs to rush and finish this thing, the end result is far from impressive.
Gertrude owes Chatterton much for her moment of glory. This is perhaps realistic, given the setting, but had this story been longer, perhaps I could be offered glimpses of how Gertrude is slowly coming into being her own person. Then, I’d have enjoyed her triumph more. Here. she’s just lucky that she somehow captures the affections of the right bloke.
The romance is another under-cooked potato. Chatterton just happens to find Gertrude charming… why? I don’t know. He falls for her because he’s the designated romance hero and dang it, he’d better fall in love ASAP as the author needs to wrap up this story fast so that she can move on to other things. What is he getting out of this romance? Since this is a squeaky-clean romance, he’s not getting great sex. I guess maybe he enjoys running to the rescue of women everywhere.
Anyway, I like what the characters, especially Gertrude, could have been, so in a way, I can’t bring myself to give this underdeveloped romance the side eye it probably deserves. The fact that it’s going for under a dollar helps too, as my anguish will likely cut deeper had I paid more for it. The writing is clean, the conversations are fine, and on the whole, this is a pleasant, easily digestible read. It just doesn’t leave much of an impact, and that’s a shame. Double or triple its length and it may just be a solid historical romance of underdogs in love.