Friday, May 30, 2008

Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Alistair Carsington really, really wishes he didn't love women quite so much. To escape his worst impulses, he sets out for a place far from civilization: Derbyshire - in winter! There he hopes to kill two birds with one stone: avoid all temptation - and repay the friend who saved his life on the fields of Waterloo. But this noble aim drops him straight into opposition with Miss Mirabel Oldridge, a woman every bit as intelligent, obstinate, and devious as he - and maddeningly irresistible.

Mirabel Oldridge already has her hands full keeping her brilliant and aggravatingly eccentric father out of trouble. The last thing she needs is a stunningly attractive, oversensitive, and overbright aristocrat reminding her she has a heart - and not to mention a body he claims is so unstylishly clothed that undressing her is practically a civic duty.

Could the situation be any worse? And why does something so wrong feel so very wonderful?

Loretta Chase is one of those authors whose name is bandied around as a must read, particularly in relation to Lord of Scoundrels. I have read that book, but other than that my exposure to her writing has been rather limited having only read one novella. Having said that, I did go into this book with high expectations...but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed.

Alistair Carsington has a long history of getting himself into trouble where both women and money are concerned, and his parents have almost despaired of him finding a suitable bride. Behind a foppish facade and a sharp wit, Alistair hides the extent of the suffering that has haunted him since he returned from war. In order to help the man who saved his life, Alistair agrees to head to Derbyshire (in winter no less!) and try and get his plan to build canals approved by the locals.

Unfortunately for him, this plan brings him into direct opposition to Mirabel Oldridge. Her father is a brilliant horticulturist who struggles to see what is going on around him in the more mundane events of day to day life, so it is Mirabel who Alistair must deal with and she is determined that there should be no canal.

For the most part I did enjoy the humour in this book, although I do have to confess I did get a bit bored with all the jokes and emphasis on Alistair's penchant for fashionable clothing, his very fastidious appearance, and his shock at how terribly Mirabel dressed. Having said that I did love the final scene where they were getting married and both of them were a bit dishevelled having been unable to keep their hands off each other! (Highlight to read spoiler)

Whilst this wasn't the absolutely amazing book that I wanted to read, it was good, and as I sit here now thinking back to the book, I am almost tempted to borrow it again from the library to see if maybe, just maybe, I hadn't judged it a bit harshly when I read it the first time around!

This is the first book in the Carsington series. I have heard very good things about the later books in this series, but my normal library doesn't have them in. I have however just discovered that the library that I joined recently does have all the rest of the series, so I will be borrowing them from there.


  1. Oh my! Lord of Scoundrels! I haven't thought about that book in forever! I never read another Loretta Chase after that, because I was sure she could never top that one. I still have my copy around here somewhere.


  2. Marg,

    I've read several LC books besides LOS and I haven't really cared for them. I think I messed up by reading LOS first, because afterwards the bar was too high and everything else fell short.

    Still, there were some enjoyable moments in this novel and the others I read. They just didn't inspire the WOW factor LOS did.