Met by Chance by Lynne Connolly

The Triple Countess Series

Samhain Publishing

Historical Romance

ISBN: 1-59998-892-5

Reviewed by Patrice F.

   

 

Lady Perdita Garland has long since physically recovered from a terrible accident, but she still carries the scars.  At 27, the only thing that is keeping her from being considered “on the shelf” is her large dowry.  Perdita values the financial security that she and her family have worked so hard for, even while she tries to distance herself from past betrayals.  When her mother suggests that Charles Dalton, Marquis of Petherbridge, would be an ideal suitor, Perdita isn’t quick to agree. Especially, when he arrives on the scene dressed in his outrageously flamboyant French courtier attire.

Charles has just returned to England with his young daughter after years of living abroad with his late wife at the Versailles court.  After enduring an unhappy marriage, he’s in no hurry to remarry.  When he meets Perdita, they experience an instant connection.  They both decide to err on the side of caution by not rushing and taking the time to get to know one another before acting.

When Charles’ sister elopes and kidnaps his daughter, Perdita feels responsible for failing to warn the Marquis about the man responsible.  Fate intervenes, throwing the would-be lovers together in a situation that could lead to scandal and ruin for everyone involved.  Through various hardships in the midst of their quest, Charles and Perdita grow closer and come to an understanding.  But is either one of them ready to commit or come to terms with their feelings?

This historical romance is filled with contemporary realism.  Ms. Connolly provides a setting filled with facets, details, and vocabulary from Perdita’s and Charles’ era.  You grasp the norms and expectations of their gender, class, and the differences between the French and English court.  At the same time, she doesn’t overwhelm you.  What I enjoyed most about Met by Chance is how all the clichés are totally bypassed.  Not everyone is lovable, accepting, and pleasant; Ms. Connolly’s writing portrays the players as social products.

Charles is described as a dandy in satin pastels and wearing full make-up, yet he is totally masculine and masterful.  He doesn’t fit modern expectations, except to be classified in our time as metrosexual.  Charles is sexy, dominant, and takes command where he needs to. Perdita displays admirable controlled independence and insight.  She outshines a Barbara Cartland heroine because she’s experienced personal tragedy resulting from the consequences of her choices.  I applauded her for carrying her wounds with such grace and dignity.

Met by Chance is a novel that made me fondly recall two of my favorite classics, Pride and Prejudice and The Scarlet Pimpernel.   I can only offer the highest compliments in suggesting that Charles has the best leading man elements of Percy and Darcy, while Perdita is just as spirited and intelligent as Marguerite and Elizabeth.  The difference is these characters are Ms. Connolly’s creations in all their freshness, yet are just as memorable and remarkable.

     

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