Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale

Lady Bridget's Diary 
by Maya Rodale
Series:  Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1
Pub. Date:  Feb. 23, 2016
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  384
Format:  eARC
Source:  Edelweiss

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

In the first novel of Maya Rodale's stunning new series, an American heiress must learn to navigate London society and an infuriatingly irresistible rake . . .

Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England's most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand—but thwarted—plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing . . . and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget's diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all—a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

This is a quirky and light-hearted romance that starts off a new series by Maya Rodale. The series will follow the Cavendish family, American horse farmers who are thrust upon London when James Cavendish inherits one of England's most-respected dukedoms. Only the bon ton looks upon Americans with disdain, seeing them as little better than the savages they share land with across the pond.

For me, this was a historical take on modern books/cinema, namely Bridget Jones's Diary and Mean Girls (Queen Bees and Wannabes). The modern touches gave a light and entertaining air to the story, particularly when you could recognize something familiar (like character names and wearing pink on Wednesdays).

Bridget Cavendish is the middle Cavendish sister, Claire being the eldest, and Amelia the youngest. Bridget also seems to be the klutz of the lot, suffering unfortunate mishaps no matter how hard she tried. She is a ardent journalist, writing in her diary almost compulsively about her inner most thoughts, feelings, and happenings. She even writes about other people who are close to her. Certainly nothing disastrous came come of that!?! She was a fun character, reminiscent of Bridget Jones in many ways.

Looooord Darcy, Earl of Something or Other, is a very prim and proper gentleman, aghast that Americans have taken the dukedom. He is determined not to like the Cavendish family... but there is something about Bridget that throws him for a loop. He doesn't quite know what to do with her, or why she makes him feel... different. She is not at all the wife he envisioned for himself, but he can't stop thinking about her! It was entertaining to see Lord Darcy work out the conflict between his expectations and the reality of Bridget Cavendish.

If you are a fan of "modern" historical romances, then I think you will have fun with this one. I received an advanced copy of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.


Oceans crossed: 1
Sisters who plagued me the entire journey: 2
Brothers who suddenly became a duke: 1
Fearsome duchesses: 1

                              Lady Bridget’s Diary

London, 1824
Durham Residence
The Ballroom
     One would think that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was a stroke of good fortune that would transform their lives from ho-hum to utterly fantastic. One would think that until one was on a reducing diet, stuffed into a tightly laced corset, and forced to practice walking backward.
     “Once again, Lady Bridget,” the duchess said crisply.
     She was Lady Bridget Cavendish now. Before she had just been Bridget Cavendish of Duncraven farm in Maryland. But then a letter had arrived one day, with the unexpected news that James was now a duke and they were all to leave everything behind and travel to England, immediately.
     “Yes Lady Bridget, once more please,” Amelia said with a smirk.
     “Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said, under her breath. Younger sisters were quite annoying, on any continent.
     “It’s ‘Do shut up, Lady Amelia,’” Claire, the oldest sister, corrected. She found all the formality as ridiculous as the rest of their family, much to the despair of the duchess.
     Somewhere about the massive house—probably in the stables, even though the duchess made it perfectly clear dukes were above mucking about in the stables—was her brother, James. Or, as he was now to be known, His Grace, the Duke of Durham. Dukes had many responsibilities, it seemed, but walking backward in a gown with an excessively long train was not one of them.
     Before her, with sharp blue eyes and perfectly coiffed blond hair, was Josephine Marie Elizabeth Cavendish, Her Grace, the Duchess of Durham, widow of the previous duke, and aunt to the Cavendish siblings.
     One did not call her Josie. Amelia had asked.
     “Remind me why we are learning to do something as ridiculous as walk backward?” Claire asked. From a young age, she had spent her free hours devoted to the study of mathematics, otherwise known as Important Work. Bridget’s head ached just to think about it.
     “It is for your presentation at court,” the duchess replied. “Which is necessary before your debut in society, which you must do in order to find a husband, which a lady must do, lest she become an impoverished spinster.”
     “What if we do not wish for a husband?” Amelia asked.
     “What a silly question,” the duchess replied. “Lady Bridget, once again.”
     At the duchess’s request, Bridget sank into a curtsy. They had practiced this extensively on Tuesday afternoon. Then, with as much grace as she could muster, Bridget rose and began to elegantly glide backward. Or so she tried; feats of grace did not come easily to her (a point upon which their dancing instructor would absolutely agree). Nothing about being a True Lady did. Bridget had daydreamt through lessons on the order of precedence amongst members of the haute ton, how to properly pour a cup of tea, and all the other lessons on etiquette and deportment they endured morning, noon, and night.
     “Now Lady Amelia, it is your turn.”
     While the duchess’s attention was focused on her sisters, Bridget took advantage of her distraction to continue walking backward until she had crossed the length of the ballroom, then she continued through the large double doors and halfway down the corridor, at which point she turned, lifted her skirts, and proceeded to the kitchens. Reducing diet, deportment lessons, and True Lady-ness be damned.

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