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Book CoverLynneC’s review of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophie Barnes
Historical Romance published by Avon Impulse 21 Feb 12

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Avon, I’ve received a fair few historical romances recently to review. Unfortunately it hasn’t yet worked out, but I do have a couple I’m getting excited about, so maybe my luck will change soon.

On the first page, we had the Viscount of Hillsbury. That warned me that I was in for a less-than-accurate read, since the title of viscount doesn’t carry “the.” I can hear the groans, but bear with me. It’s not just a matter of nomenclature, it’s a basic understanding of how titles work and what they do. That “the” means more than a mere name. Never mind, I put it aside. Together with the flood of other inaccuracies and anachronisms.

Emily falls firmly into the TSTL category. She does some really idiotic things, and everyone, including the hero, thinks she’s marvelous.

Apparently the heroine lives in a cottage with her family, after her father’s profligacy caused their impoverishment. Another misunderstanding of how the aristocracy worked, I think. No aristocrat paid off all his debts, and part of the Letters Patent that confer a title mention that the title holder must be able to support his title, which means not shaming the crown by living in a cottage. By the way, apart from cottages orné, ordinary cottages usually had one big room. The livestock lived downstairs and if the family was lucky, it had a sleeping platform upstairs. Cottages were not quaint and didn’t usually have separate rooms. They were slums.

There are a few other errors. The family fortune passing to a cousin meant that cousin is honour bound to support them. If he didn’t, they could shame him into it. There are references to an adoption, which in this period, 1811, was not legally possible, although informal adoptions did occur.

So half a dozen pages in I knew that the author hadn’t done much, if any, research and didn’t understand the historical period she was writing about. Fair enough, I was reading a fairy tale. Nothing wrong with a well-written fairy tale.

The out-of-period feeling, plus my not being on the same wavelength as the author made me abandon this one six chapters in. I did try, but the heroine is so adolescent and the hero such a stick, that it really doesn’t come alive. I gave up.

LynneCs iconGrade: DNF


Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day.

Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters—along with Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst—convince her that a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton . . . or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

Read an excerpt.