Title: Miss Wonderful
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 342 pgs
Summary: Mirabel Oldridge thought she had everything under control on her Regency property. Her eccentric, distracted father was happily studying his plants. She managed to keep her family home safe from opportunistic managers (at the expense of her one chance at love and marriage). But now, now there is a new problem; one she never thought she would have to face: Alistair Carsington. Carsington is a hero from Waterloo sent to convince Mirabel’s town, to convince Mirabel, that they need a canal that would ruin their picturesque countryside. It certainly doesn’t help that, despite her innate hatred of Carsington and all he threatens to change, Mirabel begins to find herself attracted to the oversensitive, immaculately-dressed, and maddening idiosyncrasies that define him.
pg 34 – He knew–better than many men, in fact–that a woman’s speech could be fraught with hidden meanings bearing no discernible resemblance to spoken words. He did not always know what a woman meant, but he was usually aware that she meant more than she said, and that the “more” was, more often than not, trouble.
pg 88 – No tear trickled from the too-blue eyes and along the straight nose, and the soft, pink lips didn’t tremble.
Her chin jutted out a bit, but that seemed to be her usual way, looking defiant or stubborn or in general uninterested in trying to please anybody.
All the same, she struck him at this moment as young, far younger than her years…and lost.
pg 93 – “I can walk and talk at the same time,” came Mr Carsington’s deep rumble from behind her.
He was very close behind her, she discovered as she glanced back. “I’m thinking,” she said.
“But women are much more complicated beings than men,” he said. “I believe you can even hold more than one thought in your head at once. Surely you must be able to walk and talk simultaneously.”
pg 95 – She pretended not to understand, though she could not pretend it dismayed her. It had been a very long time since an attractive man had made improper remarks about her person. She’d forgotten how agreeable it was.
pg 121 – He was not used to women, to anyone, studying him so closely. He was not used, he realized, to anyone taking the trouble. No one else looked deeper, past the elegant appearance and charm. He wondered uneasily if anything of value existed beneath the polished surface.
pg 180 – As the unnatural gloom dissipated, Mirabel’s natural bouyancy returned. Few cases were truly hopeless, she told herself. They only seemed so to people lacking courage and imagination. She was not one of those people.
Why should you read this book?
This is the first romance I’ve read where the heroine was older than the hero. Made for an interesting dynamic. I liked how Carsington and Mirabel, though they obviously came from familiar moulds, had defining characteristics and backstories. When I first began this book, I rolled my eyes at yet another Regency romance. But then Carsington became much more than a dandy with a limp, and Mirabel was something more than just an old maid who dropped everything for her family. Even the distracted father had a reason for his eccentric ways. Read this book for plausible motives to the characters’ actions. I personally would have liked to see a little more character development, but then, maybe it wouldn’t have been a strict romance. A good, quick read for those romance readers looking for a little more depth and heart to the fairy tale.