September 2, 2015
I wasn't going to reread Not Quite a Lady, but I don't like to read books in a series out of order so I did.
It is time for Darius Carsington to put in his Mr. Spock appearance. The ears may not be pointy, but everything else about Darius is Mr. Spockish. He is a rake, however, he is also an emotionally vacant hero. He's a cold-hearted logical man and his father is fed up with him. You know the Carsington brother's father is one controlling guy who expects an awful lot from his grown sons. I'm not sure why Darius' logical personality got on his father's nerves but it did. So, his father ships him off to the wilderness of England to straighten out an old estate. By the way, Darius has some super powers. He is able to perceive when a woman is innocent just by looking at her. I'm not sure how those super-powers work, but he's been relying on them for a long time as he works his way through the widows, bored wives and brothels of England. Even more amazing! His Mr. Toad has not fallen off. Anyway, he is puzzled when his super-powers are telling him that our heroine, Charlotte, isn't pure but her standing in the community is telling him that she is. He becomes obsessed with the puzzle that is Charlotte. What is there for him to figure out?
Well, quite a lot actually. You see, when Charlotte was very young she was seduced by a rake who left her pregnant. Thanks to her step-mother she was able to hide the birth of her child. Even though she believes that child has had a good home through the years, she has yearned for him. She is also guilt ridden. She feels guilty for giving her son up and guilty for keeping the secret from her beloved father. Charlotte has long held her father up on a pedestal and has tried to be the person she believes he wants her to be. She also believes she can never marry. What man would want a woman like her as a wife? So, there are some major issues Charlotte is carrying around.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Darius. His attitude toward using Charlotte when he thought she was experienced was a tad bit cruel. I've also noticed that none of Ms. Chase's men seem to use any protective measures when they are involved in dippity-dooing. This stood out more in this book, because Charlotte already had one child that she was forced to give up. Darius didn't do anything to protect her from becoming pregnant or getting any kind of disease. Charlotte, who had already experienced one unwanted pregnancy wasn't all that sensible this time around either.
While this story is a little darker than the rest in this series, there is still some of Ms. Chase's trademark humor but not enough for me to give it a higher rating. I didn't care for Darius too much and thought his treatment of Charlotte irresponsible. While there were some tender moments, they were too rushed and too close to the ending. For me Charlotte and Darius didn't work quite as well as the others in this series.
Time/Place: English countryside 1820s