Book Review: In For a Penny by Rose Lerner
Nev Bedlow’s partying days are over. His father got his brains blown out in a duel, and now Nev must deal with the family’s massive debt, as well as tend to their much too neglected country estate. He must marry new money and pretty, witty Penelope seems just the ticket.
Penelope wasn’t after a title. In fact, she was dutifully waiting, hoping her parents would eventually approve an engagement with her friend Edward, but when Lord Bedlow shows up asking for her hand in marriage, she finds herself saying yes.
The new couple not only must get to know each other and see if love can form, but also deal with the threat of a riot of the tenants, Nev’s impatient younger sister Louisa, and threatening neighbors.
Regency romance isn’t normally my thing, but I read a review on a book blog (I can’t remember which) that intrigued me. It was well worth it. In For a Penny doesn’t look at the past through rose-colored lenses. It faces the facts of life back then for men as well as women of all stations. However, unlike books of that time period that ignored the occurrence of things like sex, this book includes them. Put those two together, and you get a really pleasant read.
The characters are highly relatable and are not stock characters. Penelope is virginal and innocent due to her station, not because that’s just how women were. An actress is provided as a nice contrast, showing that with the sexual freedom of lower classes came great risk. Nev sports his own kind of innocence, a complete obliviousness to the pain and suffering in the world that then comes to meet him head-first. Instead of a dashing lord, we see a young man whose father failed to properly prepare him for adulthood. It puts exactly the type of human emotion into the story that is necessary for the romance to ring true.
That said, I didn’t completely love it. There were a few scenes that read a bit clunky. Beyond that, I’m not sure why I didn’t love it. I suspect that it’s just that it’s not my favorite genre, and thus even though it is done well, it will never be an intensely loved book in my mind.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the real emotions and situations in this regency romance and hope to come across more like it. If you enjoy romance or historical fiction, I encourage you to give this book a chance. I bet you will enjoy it.
4 out of 5 stars