Jo Beverley's "Hazard" - #9 in the Rogues series

Hazard - Jo Beverley

Lots of fun, a real romp, a lovely book. The mousey and lame Lady Anne Peckworth, who was jilted by 2 of the Rogues characters in other books, finally breaks out of her shell, decides to grab her life and live it, and goes looking for a mate. The book's core is her inner transformation as she observes the people and couples around her and changes in her views of love and marriage. Race is the perfect mate for her (besides being scrumptious in general), but because he is of a much lower social standing, neither one of them thinks it would work out and for a large part of the book they try to avoid their true feelings. But love wins in the end, when Anne finally figures out what she really needs and goes after it.

Some brilliantly-written sections - the first section with the dinner, the craps game amd the birth of Anne's sister's baby, the theatre performance with Mrs Hardcastle, the big love scene - and some hilarious ones, like the fight between Race and Tris and the scene where Race has to sober up Frances' husband so he can see the new baby. The middle section where Anne and Race are determined to avoid each other drags a bit, but not too much. Just one annoying thing about Anne, who is otherwise a really delightful heroine - she slaps Race in the face several times - it just didn't feel right for the situations they were in, which she instigated, or for Anne as a character.