Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Imprudent Lady - Joan Smith


Prudence had fallen in love with the celebrated and dashing Lord Dammler from the moment she read his first book. Then she began to have fantasies about him. Then she actually met him!

Suddenly Prudence was not living up to her name anymore....

This is my first read by Joan Smith and I found it intriguing, sometimes amusing but hardly a traditional regency romance. It's more of a friend’s story than a love story... but it does have a HEA.

Prudence, the title's imprudent lady, becomes a writer with some success. She shares a publisher with the famous Lord Dammler, the time's most celebrated writer, and ends up being introduced to him. Although she is a bit critic of his work, Prudence can't help but admire him.

Lord Dammler, alas, finds Prudence quite unremarkable but a series of events lead them to spend more and more time together and as she falls in love with him he just sees her as a friend. Prudence naiveté in terms of the ton's social behaviour does lead her to some trouble with an admirer without ever realising it. Her social awkwardness does make for some humourous moments as does her silly uncle. Lord Dammler is quite unhappy with Prudence's admirers and they become an object of discussion between them leading to some witty dialogue.

Eventually Dammler realises what his feelings for Prudence really mean but for a moment there it seems all may well be lost and where he previously commanded Prudence's emotions he will now have to work for his happy ending.

An interesting read, much different from your typical romance novel which is always a plus. However the lack of empathy that I felt with both main characters made it a slow read for me and while recognising its value and originality it doesn't come close to being a favourite.

Grade: 3.5/5

1 comment:

  1. I am a big (really big, squeeing fangirl big!) Joan Smith fan but this is probably my least favourite of all the books by her that I have read.

    This novel just seems so amateurish to me, so lacking in Smith's usual narrative ease and elegant structure. There's also none of her trademark gentle but almost metafictional poking of fun at standard romance tropes in this book; what humour is present is rather heavy-handed and not very fresh. All in all, it reads like an early and rather juvenile effort, although the original publication date doesn't seem to indicate that. I don't know much about Smith's publishing history so I don't have a clue when she actually wrote this, but I find it hard to believe this book was written during the same general period as the delightful and much more accomplished 'Gather Ye Rosebuds' which I believe was published in the same year (1978).

    There's a sequel to 'Imprudent Lady' called 'Reprise'. I suspect Smith must have realized that this rather odd couple just didn't have a believable HEA at the end of the first book or perhaps she liked them enough to want to give them a better written book later. In any case, I'm reading 'Reprise' right now and it really is a better book in every way than 'Imprudent Lady' but I'm still finding it hard to warm up to Prudence and Dammler. There is just something missing in this particular couple for me.


I love to chat about books and stuff and I would love to hear from like minded readers. Please do leave me a comment :-)


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