May 13, 2015
Hey, Ms. Alexander, update the pedigree chart!
This was a fun book. Ms. Alexander was at the top of her game with The Daring Exploits of a
Runaway Heiress, or maybe it's just because one of my favorite kind of heroes is in this one: the befuddled charmer. I was enchanted with both the heroine, Lucy Merryweather, and Cameron Effington, aka Fairchild. Lucy is spunky, but not t-o-o spunky, naive, but not stupid, and she has an abundance of energy. Cameron is a younger son, who really hasn't had to do too much of anything. He is a standard aristocratic rake, who tries to stand up to his father, but usually fails. By the way, his father has a book of his own, Let it Be Love. In fact this book is tied to almost all of Ms. Alexander's historical books. There are Effington's in this one and Millworth Manor people; if you visit Ms. Alexander's website, you will see they all seem to be connected in one way or another. So, don't even try to keep track of who is who. Also, something I found interesting was that the grandmother in this book had her own book, The Marriage Lesson. The Marriage Lesson was about her and Thomas Effington. In this book Thomas Effington has gone on to the great beyond and that was kind of startling. A dead former hero.
I loved Lucy Merryweather - maybe because she was so vibrant. She sparkled. She also has a purpose in life, and that purpose is to fulfill the bucket list her Great-Aunt created for herself and was never able to do. Some of these things on the list are normal everyday wishes, but a couple of them could only lead to disaster, or in the case of this book, fun. Posing naked for an artist being one of them. The one problem I had with the list was the fault of the editor or whoever released it to electronic format with itsy-bitty hard-to-read writing. So, I think whoever has the say on a final product should make sure everything is readable. That's my rant, but it doesn't have anything to do with the contents of the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In the previous book we saw Lucy's break with her fiancé, which for Lucy wasn't all that heartbreaking. They had been avoiding the walk down the aisle for years. So, Lucy is not boo-hooing, in fact she is thrilled to be on her own and doing the bucket list. At least she thinks she's on her own. Unbeknownst to her, her ex-fiancé has hired someone to watch out for her. And, here is where the misunderstanding comes in. Spoiler, sort of. Lucy knows that her fiancé might have someone keeping an eye on her; she just jumps to the wrong conclusion as to who it might be. Here is where the story gets a little convoluted. In a funny way.
Cameron writes for a newspaper rag and his father is disappointed in him. For most of his life he has been wandering around, moving from one occupation to another. He has unlimited funds, but he is unsettled - he is wasting his time. On top of that, instead of writing for a top newspaper, he is writing for a gossip page. For some reason his father believes that writing a novel is more responsible than writing for a newspaper. Didn't quite understand that, unless he believed his son wouldn't be able to settle down long enough to write a novel. Anyway, Cameron now needs to come up with an idea for a book. Through the suggestion of his friend Phineas, he decides to write an adventure story based on the adventures of the American heiress Lucy Merryweather, hence the title of the book. So, he starts to follow Lucy around - and he thinks he's being very sly about it, but Lucy spots him almost immediately. Lucy jumps to the conclusion that he is the detective who was hired to watch out for her and when she confronts him Cameron doesn't deny it. And, the adventure begins.
All through this story, we are given silly fun Lucy adventures and a hero who just cannot say the right words. Most of the time he is consumed with jealousy - which in this book is funny. I found Cameron's stumbling, bumbling, out-of-control Lucy moments endearing. If there was one stumbling point for me, it was that I started to feel sorry for Cameron toward the end of the book. He tried awfully hard to be what Merry wanted, he just didn't know how to express himself and toward the end of the book I was asking myself "just what does she want?" It seemed to me she made Cameron suffer just a little more than he should have.
Overall, this is a fun book, which I can recommend. Nothing earth shattering, just a feel good book with no dark deep angst. Cameron and Lucy were an adorable couple. There were a number of great secondary characters that enhanced the book and I'm looking forward to some of them filling their own pages.
Time/Place: 1888 England Mostly