Posts Tagged ‘aristocracy’

In the first book in this series, set in the 1920s, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, junior reporter for Town and Country Magazine, is sent to Wentwater Court, for the first in her series of articles about stately homes.  However, her visit turns into a murder investigation when a guest at the Court, Lord Stephen Astwick, is found drowned.  Just about every member of the Wentwater family had reason to want Lord Stephen dead, and Daisy finds herself helping Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, as he tries to work out what happened.

Fans of cozy English mysteries should thoroughly enjoy this book – I found it delightful from beginning to end.  Daisy herself is a loveable character; her tendency to stick her nose into matters could become annoying, were she not also extremely endearing.  The rest of the characters consist of the Wentwater family and some of their staff, and DCI Fletcher and his two assisting Officers.  They were all distinctive and the DCI was especially lovely – a fact not lost on Daisy herself!

I had fun trying to work out who was responsible for Lord Stephen’s death, and there were enough twists to keep me guessing.  The aristocratic way of life of the Wentwater family was well depicted, although there were a few turns of speech that struck me as a little contrived.  This book was just so damn likeable though, that any little niggles paled into obscurity.

This is not a dark or gritty story (despite the subject matter), and not really a book to be taken seriously, but I definitely enjoyed meeting Daisy, and look forward to reading further books in this series.

(Autor’s website can be found here.)

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Damian Baxter is ridiculously, stupendously rich.  He’s also dying and has nobody to leave his vast fortune to. However, an anonymous letter received years earlier suggests that he may have father a child many years ago, and now he wants to find that child in order to include him or her in his will.  There are a few contenders for the mother of the child, and to track her down he needs the assistance of a former friend from the late 60s when Damian spent time amongst the upper classes and the aristocracy.  The former friend is the narrator of the book, but he now harbours a strong grudge against Damian…

When I started this book I was not sure I would enjoy it.  It seemed to be populated by snobbish shallow characters who I did not think I would be able to warm to.  However, by about halfway through it had quite won me over and I simply did not want to put it down by the time I got to the ending.

As stated, the unnamed narrator is the former friend of Damian, who undertakes to find his child.  As he does so and meets up with several people who he was friends with at the time in which most of the book was set, he not only discovers secrets about Damian’s past,  but also comes to terms with events in his own.

We learn early on that the narrator is upset with Damian over an incident that occurred in Portugal years before, although the details of the incident are not revealed until nearly the end of the story.  There is also some tension over a girl with whom the narrator was clearly in love – Serena Gresham.

The book describes the search for Damian’s possible offspring, and also explains the differing fates of several of the characters.  It also gives plenty of description of upper class society in the late 1960s.  The narrator notes that the 60s for many people were not all free love and flower power, and describes debutantes’ balls and posh parties galore.  The era was explained in great detail, which I found very interesting to read about.

I ended up really liking the narrator and finding him to be a believeable character.  It was clear to see how he had mellowed and matured in the intervening years between the two periods of time which the book covers. Damian himself was not a particularly sympathetic character, but I did feel that the reader could understand him much better by the end of the book. 

Some parts of the book were very moving, and some were very funny.  The whole description of Terry Vitkov’s ball had me in fits of laughter, while another part where the narrator finds out some distressing news almost had me in tears.

I would highly recommend this book.  I now want to seek out ‘Snobs’ by the same author.

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Erotic fiction is not a genre I usually go for.  But this book is hugely enjoyable and good fun.

Maybelle de Maitenon has always believed that she must never fall in love or give her heart to anybody.  The grand-daughter of a famous French courtesan (and having to live with the reputation which that fact brings with it), she has grown up believing that to fall in love would mean giving up her independence and opening herself up to misery.  But then she meets Edmund Worthington, Duke of Rutherford, a man whose own family’s reputation has been dragged down in recent years.  The attraction between Maybelle and Edmund is instant, but while she simply wants a fling, things end up getting far more complicated than she had intended.  Maybelle’s grandmother has opened a school of gallantry – where she teaches men how to pleasure their partners.  But when her grandmother is taken ill, Maybelle finds herself having to reluctantly take over the teaching at the school.  Edmund enrols at the school, and things get rather steamy!

There are several funny moments in this book, and certainly plenty of very steamy moments!  Edmund and Maybelle are both very likable characters, but also both very human and fallible.  I found myself getting frustrated at their behaviour, while at the same time understanding exactly how and why they behaved in certain ways.

It’s not a ‘deep’ book; there is no profound message here.  But there is plenty of fun and laughter to be had, and it is certainly a great read (and occasionally made me get a bit hot under the collar)!  I am hoping that this is not the last we will see from Delilah Marvelle, and if she writes any more books, I will certainly be reading them.

I would definitely recommend this one!

(I would like to thank the author for sending me this book to review. Delilah Marvelle’s website can be found here.)

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