Review: Lady Bridget's Diary, Chasing Lady Amelia, and Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1-#3)
Note: The ARC of Lady Claire Is All That was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
From a simple family living in America on a horse farm to suddenly learning they were members of the peerage across the pond, the Cavendishes make their way to England. Under the tutelage of their aunt, the Cavendish sisters--Claire, Bridget, and Amelia--must learn to become ladies worthy enough to be noticed by the ton while their brother James immerses himself in being the new Duke of Durham, a title that he doesn't want nor need but one that he feels he has no choice but to embrace, albeit it with hesitance and reservations. And noticed the Cavendishes are, except for all the wrong reasons. They are seen as the ill-mannered Americans who have invaded the ton, but even as English society turns their noses up at the siblings, their curiosity about the foursome is clear.
Lady Bridget Cavendish knows all too well what it's like to be whispered and gossiped about, having fallen during their first ball and hearing one man in particular state she wasn't "handsome enough" for him to overlook her lack of manners. That man is none other than Lord Darcy Wright, who is nothing like Darcy's younger brother Rupert. Soon, Bridget's musings in her diary shift from her transition as a regular American girl to a prim and proper lady to exactly why Darcy is so despicable...and so distracting as well, causing such confusion in Bridget's mind and heart. For all intents and purposes, Rupert should be her Mr. Right, but one look at her diary may prove that the original wrong Mr. Wright holds her heart. When her diary is stolen, will Bridget's words prove how wrong she is for Darcy?
Then there is Lady Amelia Cavendish, a young lady who feels the tightly bound rules and mores of the peerage are holding her hostage. She prefers her freedom, exploring the world around her without anyone setting limitations as to what she may or may not be allowed to do. When she decides to escape the suffocating walls of her new home, she meets Mr. Alistair Finlay-Jones, and they strike up a friendship that leads them to experiencing adventures around London, where Amelia finally feels as if she can do whatever she wants without fear of reprimand. Their feelings for each other grow, but when Amelia finds out that Alistair has been forced by his uncle--who is forced to look upon him as his only heir--to marry her, she wonders if the fortune hunter is truly deceitful.
The eldest among the Cavendish sisters has Lady Claire feeling a certain burden of responsibility. She wants to be able to see her sisters married off and her brother settling into his role as duke. As far as her own future is concerned, Claire has no plans of wedding anyone, preferring to focus her attention on her love for math and refusing to be tied down by the limited expectations people have of her simply because she's a woman. When Maximilian Frederick DeVere, otherwise known as Lord Fox, pursues her, Claire doesn't understand why he would want a woman like her, especially since they have nothing in common. The last thing Claire expects is to fall for a man who's more brawn than brain, but the heart wants what it wants, even if things don't seem to add up at first.
This is the year that I've rediscovered my love for historical romances, and in the process, I've found myself another historical romance author to keep tabs on as well as rifle through her backlist--Maya Rodale. In her Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, of which I read the three currently available novels--Lady Bridget's Diary, Chasing Lady Amelia, and Lady Claire Is All That--one after the other, she mixes humor with her romance, both in generous doses. I decided to consolidate my reviews for the three books into just one because the three stories do overlap at a lot of points. My favorite Cavendish novel so far is the second one, Chasing Lady Amelia, followed by Lady Bridget's Diary and Lady Claire Is All That, getting 4.5 stars, five stars, and four stars out of five stars, respectively.
There's no denying that Bridget, Amelia, and Claire are three willful and independent young women and have been raised differently from their peers in London. I loved how they stood out and, over time, learned that what made them different from everyone else simply meant they were extraordinary and not like the rest of the crowd. I can't quite recall, but I do believe this is the first set of books that saw Americans entering the world of the haute ton and I was fascinated with the adjustments they made and the changes that they resisted because they knew that that wasn't who they were. Amelia was flighty but fierce, Bridget fanciful but fiery, and Claire logical but loving. The love they had for their men and for their family was what I simply loved most about these strong and smart ladies.
Bridget's story had an enemies-to-lovers feel, Amelia's a second chance touch to it, and Claire's an opposites attract tone. The three young women were similar because they were Americans and sisters, but they all had distinct personalities, as did the men they fell in love with, Darcy, Alistair, and Fox. Bridget and Darcy learned that there was more to each other than what their initial impressions had been. Amelia and Alistair discovered their worth and that their love prevailed above expectations and perceived responsibilities. Claire and Fox showed the ton that what may not make sense to many does not mean that it won't work out in the end and that it's their very differences that balance each other out. Each of these stories left me with a more than satisfied smile on my face.
There will be a fourth novel, It's Hard Out Here for a Duke, and it's the much awaited story of the Duke of Durham himself, James Cavendish, who has been having a quiet flirtation of sorts with Miss Meredith Green, his aunt's companion and maid all throughout the three books. Because I'm already quite attached to the Cavendish siblings, James's story is one that I've already got on my to-be-read list. Also, Claire's story is loosely connected to that of Duke and Duchess of Ashbrooke's, whose romance was told in the first novel in Maya Rodale's Bad Boys & Wallflowers series, The Wicked Wallflower, and because they made appearances in the third Cavendish story, my curiosity has been piqued. If you're looking for a Regency romance series to check out, give the Cavendishes a try. ♥
Date Read: 27 December 2016
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