Memories Schmemories Part V, Lady Jane by Norma Lee Clark, 1982

Eons ago when I first starting reading romance there were two publishers that I always bought - Signet and Fawcett Regencies. Somewhere along the line, I started to lose interest in the traditional Regency and focus mainly on the bigger historical books. Well, let me tell you after rereading Lady Jane by Norma Lee Clark, I am reminded why I read these little Regencies so much. Packed into 214 pages is some very amazing writing and some eye-opening surprises (along with a teensy-weensie font.)

Normally, when one thinks of the old traditional Regencies, one thinks of a world filled with aristocrats, balls, the ton etc.; however, not all of the books written in the 70's and 80's were like that. And, this one is different. This one is a little darker. Jane Coombes is a 14 year old servant employed in the household of the Montmorency family. Yes, I said 14! (I had to adjust my ickometer for that one.) Along the way, Jane is almost seduced by Jasper Montmorency, loses her job, tries to find a job, is tricked by the Montmorency butler, Leach, and is brutally raped by him. And, this is no romance pretend rape, no hero lurking in the doorway to stop it. She is eventually rescued by Lady Stanier and whisked away to Kent, where she becomes a part of the Payton household. This book spans 7 years of Jane's life, and along the way we fall in love with her.

Most of the story is told through Jane's eyes, with an occasional POV from two men, Sebastian and Jasper. There are two parts to this book, I call them Sebastian's story and Jasper's story. I loved the character of Sebastian more than Jasper and, not to give too much away, Sebastian's part is a hanky-read. And unlike other romance books, Jane loves both men equally, without any of that "I never knew what I was missing till you."

So, if you can get past the young ages in this book, you're in for a treat. Just be warned this is not the same ol' same ol' Regency of the 90's... this is what traditional Regencies were all about in the beginning.

Norma Lee Clark, aka Megan O'Connor, wrote 15 romance novels. She died at the age of 75 in 2002.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Surprisingly fairly warm


Michael Andersen-Andrade said...

Norma Lee Clark was my mother's best friend. Fond memories...miss her dearly.

SidneyKay said...

I never knew her personally, but I miss her voice and remember her writing fondly. You are lucky to have known her.