Caroline Linden, $0.99
Historical Romance, 2011
Oh, this story sounds so cute at first, which had me thinking at first that it would make the perfect companion to the “more than one” TBR Challenge review I am doing for this month. Lady Emma Bowen is a widow whose stepson deliberately limited her allowance to a pittance and had her live out a quiet life in what seems like the most boring corner of London. However, she likes her life. Now that she can finally be an independent person, free from her ambitious mother’s clutches, she enjoys being able to do whatever she wants, however she wants. Her neighbor is a retired navy officer Phineas Quentin who always has exciting stories to tell when they sit at opposite sides of a wall to chat during the evenings. I’m sure you know where this story is heading.
Maybe it’s because Like None Other first appeared in the anthology The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance and hence the author felt compelled to follow the whole formula of only privileged people can fall in love and have sex in the 19th century Europe, but the biggest disappointment of this story turns out to be how these characters eventually turn out to be familiar archetypes who would lead the same old predictable kind of lives like practically every other romance couple in a regency-era romance. I was hoping Phineas would be a Carla Kelly-like hero who embodies the nobility of the working class, but no, he turns out to be a well-connected and well-moneyed fellow with ties to Lady This and Lord That, and he also brings Emma down a familiar path taken by every other couple in such a story.
As a result, my initial interest in this story starts to decrease as I turn the pages. Fortunately, Like None Other is short enough that I reach the end before my interest hits rock bottom, so it’s more of a pleasant and fluffy but not very memorable read. It’s okay, but I wish Like None Other has lived up more to its name.