ROLISSA by Jane Lovelace


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Regency readers have learned to expect contrived obstacles to the True Love of hero and heroine--but here the barriers to romance are particularly strained and, for a long stretch, downright tiresome. Lady Rolissa Amberly is a lovely orphan-heiress, up to London to meet Carson Talmadge, the Earl of Ondridge--the family's choice for Rolissa's bridegroom. But, though both arranged-marriage candidates are smitten at first sight, Rolissa has heard dreadful rumors about the Earl. Did he perhaps kill his brother to inherit the title? Why does he have a former highwayman in his employ? Is he just a fortune-hunter? And this mild, baseless glimmer of suspicion develops into scene after scene of tetchy misunderstandings and quarrels, with none of the traditional Darcy-and-Elizabeth sparkle. Then there's another accidental death, that of a relative of both Rolissa and the Earl: they share in the inheritance--but the Earl seems distastefully greedy about it, fueling still more murderer-suspicions. Meanwhile, too, there's the usual Other Woman for Rolissa to fret about: the Earl seems to be courting a plain, pleasant widow--while Rolissa has several eager suitors. At last, however, Rolissa learns that the Earl is not only innocent but noble and brave . . . rescuing her in the nick from the real murderer in the family. So-so as mystery, feeble as romantic comedy--and a just-passable Regency overall, without the character-charm that made Lovelace's Eccentric Lady (1983) slightly-above-average froth.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1984
Publisher: Walker