Tuesday, May 5, 2009

St. Martin's Summer - Diana Brown


Miss Josephina Trafford was quite happy to live a safe distance from the fashionable frenzy of Regency London. Not only was she a young lady of good breeding and even better sense, she was busy enough trying to save her family estate, curb the extravagance of her flighty mother, and provide for the marriages of her two charming but helpless sisters.

But if Josephina would not go near the temptations of the city, they came to her--in the devilishly handsome form of Lord Conniston Venables. Venables was on an unwilling visit to the countryside, but the sight of Josephina made him eager to stay until he conquered her. He could not imagine she could resist a man who knew so well the ways of the world--until Josephina began to teach him how much he had to learn about the ways of a woman's untamed heart....

I had already read two of Diana Brown’s books before starting this one. I enjoyed both of them very much and so I was saving this one for a special occasion hoping it was as good as the others. I am glad to say that it was and I’m now anxiously looking for the 2 books I’m missing from her back list.

Josephina is a smart, intelligent woman. On her father’s death she becomes responsible not only for her family, Mother and two sisters ,but also with the running of the farm they live in that is heavily in debt. Unlike most heroines Josephina has real knowledge of the agricultural methods and especially what concerns raising sheep.

Lord Venables is newly returned to his ancestral home, which he left as a young man after a fight with his father and the neighbouring squire. On arrival he meets Josephina, through her becomes aware of how much the local people have suffered under his bailiff, and decides to change thing.

For the following month and he and his friends become very much a part of the local society and he and Josephina frequently meet and talk on a variety of subjects. However the his sophistication and rakish reputation intimidate Josephina and if she can’t quite believe he may have feelings for her she feels very much attracted to him and is quite angry at herself for it. Fans of Austen and Gaskell will be happy to know that this book follows the exact same type of story. A disastrous first proposal and then, slowly, the road towards new feelings, some regret and finally happiness.

Josephina and Venables have a rocky road to travel; the misunderstandings are more than a few and when they again seem on the brink of something Josephina has to go away due to a financial crisis. The second half of the book is a roller coaster of emotions, I just couldn’t stop reading and I was constantly wondering what would bring them together again, for a while it does seem that they missed the final opportunity and it really is very poignant story. If I have any complaints about the story is that Josephina’s final rash decision was a bit too much, we didn’t need one more failed opportunity, and I would rather have an emotional ending to fit with the rest of the story rather than a funny one but still this was one of my most memorable reads this year.
Grade: 5/5

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