Book Review: The Vicount’s Valentine by Donna Lea Simpson

vicounts valentineThe Vicount’s Valentine by Donna Lea Simpson

A Classic Regency Romance novella celebrating the world first introduced by Jane Austen.

Viscount Blackthorne is better known as Blackheart, a notorious rogue with a reputation for seduction. Forced to flee London and a young woman’s irate father, he escapes to the wilds of Yorkshire hoping to rest, relax, and wait out the scandal. The last thing he expects to find in the country is the stunning beauty he first eyed twelve years ago, the one woman who captivated his heart and made him question his ways.

The widow Honey Hockley has given up on romance and settled into the quiet simplicity of her small Yorkshire village. Before marrying her infirmed husband, she had one sparkling night of a London Season, a night she’ll hold on to forever. But Honey’s peaceful days are shattered when a handsome and mysterious stranger comes to town, forcing her to question her decision to accept a life alone.

Upon meeting, attraction flares, and it’s only Honey’s fears and the Viscount’s reputation that keep them apart. So while Honey works to accept the possibility that life and love may yet hold some surprises for her, the Viscount works to clear his name and win over the one woman he believes can make him virtuous again.

“The Viscount’s Valentine” was originally published as “Wild Honey.”

Bron first lays eyes on Honey on the night of her 18th birthday, when she attends her first and only ball. She is the hit of the season, and he falls in love with her there and then, only to have his hopes dashed when she is married off the following day to an older man in order to pay off her father’s debts.

Bron spends the next 12 years trying to forget her, but never quite, despite all his dalliances. He escapes to Yorkshire after getting a girl pregnant (apparently), in the hopes of keeping his head down.

Unfortunately he meets Honey again, and starts wooing her, trying to get her to see past his terrible reputation. Things are not helped by Honey’s younger sister staying with her and abandoning her marriage vows to throw herself at Bron. Honey seems incapable of getting through to her sister to make her see sense about what she’s doing.

Things come to ahead during a ball to mark valentine’s day. which is also Honey’s 30th birthday. Some scenes at the ball dont stand quite right (the husband comes to claim his wife, resulting in a very public showdown, with sexual infidelity accusations being thrown about all over the place) but it gets the job done. The author came very near to the “taking the virginity” cliché, but narrowly avoided it.

So on the whole – a nice way to spend an afternoon’s reading in the run up to Valentine’s

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