The Society Catch (Harlequin Historical, #809) - Louise Allen

Very enjoyable!  I normally avoid Harlequins (titles like "Captured for the Captain's Pleasure" completely put me off) but on some whim decided to check this one out.

 

What saved this book for me was that the main characters are social equals. This is not a "Cinderella story" where the downtrodden virtuous heroine has to be rescued by a fairy godmother and a prince (or one of the many variations on this theme that Harlequins specialize in). In this book, the heroine is virtuous but also feisty, courageous and independent, once she decides that there is no way she's going to marry the guy her parents have chosen for her. She figures out her alternatives and plans for them, although because of her innocence her plans go badly awry. 

 

Besides the delightful main characters, the book is enjoyable for its genuine historical feel. The author obviously knows the Regency period, its language and customs and even more, the English landscape. The plot flows well, and the ending is not gushing with over-the-top sentimentality, which is always a danger when reading Harlequins. Will have to try some more of Louise Allen's historicals (but I'll avoid the ones with titles like "Virgin Slave, Barbarian King").