Forever Regency (ImaJinn), Aug 15 2009, $14.00
In London of 1818, Miss Laurel Gardiner is attending her season but none of the men she meets are ones she wants to marry despite the fact she is being chased by titled males. She becomes friends with Penelope Croyden who was jilted by Robin Waltham, the Earl of Westbridge; they were neighbors and childhood friends whose families expected them to wed. However, Robby vanished without a word and Polite Society pitied pathetic Lady Penelope.
When Laurel returns home, she remains disturbed by Penelope’s heartbreak and decides to fix her friend up with the family hermit residing on their estate, Hermitage. Although he objects she tries to turn Robbie Darkwood into a gentleman in order for him to properly court Penelope, Laurel begins to realize she has feelings for the recluse. After consummating their love, Robbie informs Laurel he needs to leave to straighten out the mess he fostered when he ran away before He plans to return to commit to her when he returns if Laurel can handle his secret.
This is an elegant entertaining Regency romance starring am independent blue stocking heroine and a lost soul in a gender bending Pygmalion. Robin has secrets, but as he has previous done prefers to run away than to discuss what haunts his soul. Ironically he is an honorable person who feels scandalized by circumstances beyond his control while feeling remorse for what he did to Penelope but hope that he will be able to claim Laurel as his fair lady. Readers will enjoy Sharon Sobel’s provocative role reversal version of My Fair Lady.