Books by Patricia Veryan

THE RIDDLE OF ALABASTER ROYAL by Patricia Veryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

Another roistering Regency romance of mystery and suspense from the author of Lanterns (1996), among many, many others. Veryan fans will recognize some enjoyable staples here: a beset but tender-hearted hero, kind to children and animals; his entertaining chums; lively and irreverent servants; a set of noble nasties; and a heroine of Waspish waist and wit. There's also plenty of action, of course, and here the calamities confer on a supposedly haunted mansion, plus a murder or two and general mayhem. Captain Jack Vespa, only son of elegant Sir Kendrick, has returned from the horrors of Wellington's war in Spain with a game leg and a possible concussion. Sir K. is enraged that Jack, rather than lead a sensible idle life in London, intends to take over the crumbling family estate of Alabaster Royal in the village of Gallery-on-Tang. But Jack persists, and despite an attempt by someone to run him off the road, he not only moves in but rehires as caretaker a local rowdy (interviewed in the stocks). Eventually, Jack also hires on a gamey variety of theatrical servants, since no one in the village will come near the ``haunted'' mansion. Then there are the invaders who live in Alabaster Royal uninvited: an Italian duchess and her fiery-tongued, lovely granddaughter Consuela, who between rages explains that she's there to find the murderer of her father, the famous artist Preston Jones. Before long it appears to Jack that Consuela's suspicions might be well founded—especially after a strangling attempt, shots in the cemetery, and other distractions to peaceful country living. Meanwhile, two clever friends from the war enliven the sleuthing, and there'll be an exotic Indian lady, a cloisonnÇ vase, paintings with secret messages by Jones, and a dead gallery-owner. It all ends with a watery chase and a deadly surprise—and, naturally, an appropriate union. Very good Veryan. Jollity, junkets, and a juicy mystery. Read full book review >
LANTERNS by Patricia Veryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

A curtain call for Veryan's Sanguinet series (Sanguinet's Crown, 1985, etc.), which, like her Golden Chronicles and Jeweled Man sagas, are Georgian/Regency-period adventures with various dastardly groups threatening to subvert the English government. Here, a battle-scarred, oddly magnetic veteran of the Sanguinet conflicts arrives in the country to outwit enemies and win a lady. Marietta Washington and elder sister Fanny are pretty, sharp-witted, but impoverished, thanks to the gambling forays of their weak but goodhearted widower father, Sir Lionel. Also at home, in addition to younger brother Arthur, is Aunt Dova, an eerie but lovable bird who converses with lifelike dolls and, in disguise, tells fortunes, having been blessed with ``A Mystical Window Through Time.'' The Warrington house is part of the estate of Lanterns, owned by the ever-absent Lord Temple, and is rumored to be haunted and to contain a fabled, priceless jewel, ``The Sigh of Saladin.'' Suddenly arriving to camp out in Lanterns is the polite but evasive Diecon, a retired Major who becomes Arthur's idol. Marietta, puzzled, is drawn to Diecon—but is he really just a free-spirited ex-soldier? What explains his brilliance at the violin? Meanwhile, Marietta is courted by the handsome, supposedly wealthy Blake, whose relationship to Diecon, when revealed, makes for an unpleasant surprise. Before Diecon's real identity is revealed and Blake vanquished, Diecon and Marietta deal with the tragedy of Marietta's brother Eric, involved in treason; Diecon's friend Joselyn courts Fanny; and there is a return of the terrifying Sanguinet mob (Claude S., the leader, is now deceased) involving a kidnapping and a grand showdown in Lanterns. The villains are vanquished, the Sigh of Saladin makes an appearance, and true lovers are united. Reliable Veryan, mixing romance, humor, light mystery, and a satisfyingly noisy finish with just enough touches of period diction and mores to add the right Regency flavor. Read full book review >
THE MANDARIN OF MAYFAIR by Patricia Veryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

The sixth and last flash from the author's Georgian-period Jewelled Men series (Never Doubt I Love, p. 102, etc.)light, romantic adventures featuring classy toffs, foxy villains, and spunky ladies. This time out, Veryan's most fiery hero, Lieutenant August Falcon, brings the nasties to bay. The tale lumbers slowly at first, with chunks of information about the evil work of the Jewelled Men (that power elite plotting against England's crown) and about the previous triumphs in love and war of Falcon's companions from the five earlier installments. The story here, though, picks up with a clandestine meeting of masked League members led by ``the Squire'' in an abandoned dungeon, a place with an unpleasant room bustling with rats. Meanwhile, the handsome, red-tempered Falcontolerated by the ton because of his wealth and looks, despite his grandmother's marrying a Chinese aristocrat (hence the nickname ``Mandarin'')snarls around his elegant aerie, sleuthing and being uncommonly ferocious with suitors of his beautiful sister, Katrina. She's fallen in love with nice Jamie, an anti-League comrade whom Falcon can't stand. And Falcon is too proud to admit to loving Katrina's lame friend Gwendolyn, sister of Gideon Rossiter (Time's Fool, 1991). So the League spreads and oozes over England, snagging noble houses, cargos, and then Falcon himself. First, he's drugged and apparently kills Jamie; then, in horror, a humbled Falcon is off in pursuit of the League, unmasking some familiar faces and eventually being popped into ratsville. There's a last-minute rescue, but the Squire will strike again before finally being frog-marched to the Tower. Finally, it's royal honors for all the good chapsand love for Falcon, who by now, to the relief of all, has reverted to his old, arrogant, short-fused self. Essential to series followers; newcomers might prefer to drop in on the Jewelled Men and their sterling foes in the earlier novels. Read full book review >
NEVER DOUBT I LOVE by Patricia Veryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1995

The fifth in the author's Georgian-period Jeweled Men series, those flounced and pomaded adventures in which a group of young gentlemen slashes one league farther in proving the existence of a traitorous plot against the ruling House of Hanover. Of course, romance weighs heavily as a heroine aids and abets. Here the bright, bumptious young thing is country-bred Zoe Grainger, sent by her weak Papa to stay in London with the odious Lady Buttershaw, she with the voice of a French horn and the civility of a mud hen. Zoe is to attend the Lady's fragile, invalid sister, Lady Julia. In the meantime Lady Buttershaw has arranged for Zoe to be squired around town by hot-tempered, lame Lieutenant Peregrine Cranford—chum, as it turns out, of other heroic chaps met in the earlier adventures. Typically, the romance has a rocky start, but, as mystery piles on mystery, the pair soon work as a team. Events touching Zoe and Peregrine have much to do with the search for Zoe's absent brother, Travis, a diplomat who carries a damning, treasonous ``Agreement'' forged by the ``League of Jeweled Men'' that names names. Brave Zoe spies, and brave Peregrine (and some friends) gallop to the rescue. Peril pops up at the mansion of Lady Buttershaw as urgent messages fly, and there are pistol- packing confrontations between all sorts of nefarious and noble studs. Of course there's that essential happy conclusion to the romance, as Peregrine quotes the Bard. One of Veryan's vintage best—pleasantly predictable, with agreeable people, gentle humor, and the fillip of a popular, sanitized version of 18th-century dialogue. Read full book review >
A SHADOW'S BLISS by Patricia Veryan
Released: April 21, 1994

Although Veryan provides less ton tattle and fan flirting than in other volumes of her League of Jeweled Men series (Time's Fool, 1991, etc.), this tale of an amnesiac gentleman demoted to village idiot in the wilds of Cornwall circa 1746 has action fast and sure, as well as the usual beset and besotted lovers. Believing he was responsible for many deaths, the handsome punching bag known to more sadistic villagers as Crazy Jack has taken an oath to content himself with humble toil and nonviolence. But Jack, whose memory returns in fits and starts, has the accents of a gentleman, a fact not lost upon lovely Jennifer Britewell, only daughter of Sir Vinsom of Castle Triad. Jack becomes the castle coachman, and love flares amid danger. Jennifer is pursued by a repulsive lord, while Jack sniffs out dirty deeds aborning in an abandoned mine, where the League of Jeweled Men—those toffs out to take over England—are about to make their next move. Hairbreadth escapes and chases enliven the finale, which features some old acquaintances from the earlier Jeweled Men adventures. Veryan's Regency romance fans should not ``fly up i' the boughs.'' They may weary of Crazy Jack's martyrdom in the sticks, but Cornish ghost appearances and a few surprises will probably revive their flagging interest. Regulation Veryan. Read full book review >
ASK ME NO QUESTIONS by Patricia Veryan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1993

Georgian romancer Veryan launches another handsome, nobly jumpy nob who finds a delightful (if considered unsuitable) love, and—with a little help from his friends who've appeared in Times Fool (1991) and Had We Never Loved (1992)—confounds the latest plot of the nefarious League of Jewelled Men. Poor pretty widow Ruth Allington, poverty-stricken daughter of a famous painter and sister of a sea captain branded as a traitor, is fairly desperate. But she perceives help from an odd quarter and moves to a cottage on the estate of Lac Brillant. Its owner, gentlemanly Sir Brian, reluctantly hires her to restore a chapel fresco, despite the fierce objections of his son, glowering Gordon Chandler. Scattering little white lies (Ruth keeps hidden her familial connections and hides the twin nephews she's raising), she restores beautifully. Gordon warms but is still below the boiling point; he's engaged to a gorgeous nasty. Meanwhile, the Jewelled Men are planning to collect another estate to undermine the Realm, and it all has to do with an intentional shipwreck, Ruth's lost brother, and fraudulent cargo. The twins and Ruth save the day as do Gordon's friends—Lt. Morris and ``the Manderin'' August Falcon (the most interesting friend and probably on ice until the last Jewelled Men volume). It all ends with a bang-up storm and gunfire. On automatic pilot—but an enjoyable, lighthearted romantic series. Read full book review >
HAD WE NEVER LOVED by Patricia Veryan
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

Specialist in 18th-century English novels of romantic suspense —all ``i' the vein'' and crackling with marvelous period slang- -Veryan offers a second round of a new series concerning the dirty work of ``the infamous League of Jewelled Men,'' a secret society dedicated to restoring the Stuart line to the throne. Again, their target is a titled landowner—here, the sire of one of a quartet of friends met in Time's Fool (1991)—and, as always, there's romance, this time between a lordling and a lovely (most unsuitable) lass. Viscount Horatio Glendenning—chum of Gideon, hero of Time's Fool (now on his honeymoon)—suffers as much from love as from a dastardly plot. For Horatio's love is a gypsy girl, Amy Consett. To be sure, Amy was stolen at birth (and she might be of blue blood), but now she's also adept at pinching purses, flipping a knife, and ripping off a street jargon of a Cheapside persuasion. Plus she's beautiful. Horatio is nursed by Amy after being robbed and knocked about, lives in the forest, then finally returns home to find his father the earl—as well as the rest of his family—threatened with the Tower, and himself with execution as a traitor. Salvation hinges on the recovery of a jewelled pin. Two of Horatio's friends, Lieutenant James Morris and the acerbic August Falcon (inevitably, two of the next League targets), help, but it'll be Amy and her artist ``uncle'' who save the day—and Amy is due, of course, for a Pygmalion transformation. Adorable Amy is tiresome—the aristocratic lasses offer more pep and wit—but, still, this is a busy, jolly series. Read full book review >
TIME'S FOOL by Patricia Veryan
Released: Sept. 21, 1991

More Georgian romantic adventuring with a dollop of mystery, amatory chaos, gallops and alarms, and, as always, chirpy chatter of the ton. Instead of Bonnie Prince Charlie's treasure—at the center of Veryan's novels in The Golden Chronicles—there's now a sinister secret gang at nasty work with perhaps international implications. Captain Gideon Rossiter, who languished for many months in a military hospital, is back from the wars to find that his sire, banker Sir Mark, has been ruined and that the family name is in disgrace. Moreover, Gideon's fiancÇe, the lovely Lady Neomi Lutonville, now a reigning ``toast,'' burns with loathing for him (for reasons too silly to detail). While the two attracted—though proud and furious—lovers blurt out their feelings to lively bosom bows and sidekicks, and sideswipe each other with insults, events pop and pound along. There's a suspicious highway robbery; assaults from several dark quarters; a duel marked by hilarity; a kidnapping; and a fiery rescue—and of no small aid is an unlikely Cockney valet who uses his rhyming slang to advantage. At the heart of all this is the hunt for a jeweled chess piece, of singular importance to a clandestine cartel that could have caused the downfall of Sir Mark and that has other dirty business in the pod. It all ends with a bizarre and enigmatic close. One of Veryan's better Georgian galas, with virile men who hail one another as ``Tulip'' or ``my pippin,'' and tough little beauties who ``La!'' their way to their hearts' desire. Froth and frantic action—all in the period vein. Read full book review >