Monday, August 4, 2014

Prelude for a Lord

Title: Prelude for a Lord

Series: None

Year: 2014

Author: Camille Elliot

Summary: It is their music that heals them, but it may also drive them apart.

Lady Alethea is living in Bath, England, with her aunt and waiting for her 30th birthday in order to claim her inheritance so she can pursue her passion for music. She is alarmed to learn that someone is trying to steal her violin, which was left to her by an Italian widow who was like a mother to her. She is forced to ask for help from Lord Dommick, who is known for his expertise in music and his knowledge of violins.

Traumatized by his time spent fighting the French on the Peninsula, Lord Dommick is desperate to dispel the rumors of his madness for the sake of his sister, who will be coming out in London in the spring.

Alethea and Dommick's families are threatened when their plan to discover the would-be thief is realized. Dommick proposes that Alethea and her family come stay at his country house with his family to better protect them all.

Alethea has come to trust and love Dommick, but he is so preoccupied with his own demons that he pays no attention. It's not until Alethea is kidnapped that Dommick is forced to stare down his struggles and realize that Alethea loves him completely. But will he find her in time to confess his feelings, and will they realize who is behind the threats? A one-of-a-kind violin has put them all in danger. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Lady Alethea Sutherton 
~ Bayard Terralton, Baron/Lord Dommick

Review: Other than Jane Austen's famous novels, I don't think I've read much Regency fiction. Come to think of it, this may be my first outside of classics. I usually actively avoid novels labeled "romance" just because they tend to be cliche and really not my preference, but when I saw this one was Regency with music, I thought I'd give it a go.

And as far as the music aspect is concerned, I liked it. Alethea is described as a young woman who is unlike most of the young women of England. She loves her half-sister, Lucy, who happens to be a lady's maid, and she thrives on music - especially the violin, an instrument society says is strictly for men. Her brother is after her to get married for his own monetary purposes, yet Alethea finds refuge for a while with a rather commanding aunt. She takes charge of a young ward of her aunt's, Margaret, and does what she can to enjoy music and keep away from men as all previous interaction with them has proven awful on her part. 

But that's before someone offers to buy her violin from her... and then later someone attempts to steal it... and then even later someone attempts to kidnap her. Alethea is forced to accept the help of a certain Lord Dommick, a well-known musician who believes, along with society, that women shouldn't play the violin. I enjoyed reading their spats near the beginning of the story, yet I thought their banter kinda flattened toward the middle and end. They were just a little too moody for my taste.

The beginning of the story was choppy, and it took me a while to get into it. Margaret was my favorite character, and I was disappointed that she wasn't more of a central character. From trying to find Alethea's "treasure" to fighting with the rector's daughters, she was full of fun and never once boring. Lord Ian, too, was incorrigible and fun to read. He had a brother relationship with Dommick/Bayard that I really liked, and he was very protective of Dommick's sister, Clare. [Highlight for spoilers] In my personal opinion, I would have preferred to see a romance pop up between Ian and Clare rather than having to read the one between Dommick and Alethea. But *sigh* nothing ever came of it. Even Aunt Ebena improved upon further reading. She reminded me of the snobby aunt from Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm, and just with all snobby aunts, she becomes a kindred spirit. Although I like that, it's becoming just a tick cliche. Let's have some snobby uncles pervading literature now, shall we?

I loved the passages with the music! As a musician, I can relate, and the experience of being caught up in a song is just as amazing as the author described here. However, I was a little irritated in one scene where Alethea played the harpsichord for an evening gathering and conducted a serious conversation with several people while she played -- from memory -- several Bach selections. She would get lost in her violin music to the point of not knowing who was around her, yet when she played the harpsichord, she was so indifferent to it that she could play and focus rather on a conversation leading away from the music? This is a pet peeve of mine, and I hope you don't mind the musician's rant, but when I play the piano, I PLAY the piano. If you love music as Alethea appears to, you don't sacrifice the song in order to talk. There's no way to keep the music's intensity up if you're holding chit chat on the side. 

Advisory: Obviously, romance. *shakes head* I knew there were reasons I stayed away from romance novels. Definitely not my favorite thing to review, but let's see if I can give it a go. [Highlight for spoilers] In one scene, a young man attempts to kiss Clare, leading to his abrupt dismissal from the house and giving a bad reputation to his name. However, later on, Dommick kisses Alethea twice and yet no one makes a big deal about it. Really? If we're going to support a theme, might as well support it throughout the entire book instead of just when the author prefers. I found that annoying. [Highlight for spoilers] Dommick and Alethea marry in the course of the novel, a marriage of convenience to protect Alethea from marrying the horrid Mr. Kinnier. As neither was ready to admit that they loved the other right away, their relationship was awkward, and I didn't like some of what was implied involving that. The book would have been a lot better off without mentioning those few things. Other than that, a few men flirt and make advances upon ladies of their choice, some not so nice. For all of that, I'd definitely recommend this book for mature readers, even for readers over 15 or 16 years of age.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.*

This book will be released on August 5th.
Click here to see Prelude for a Lord on Amazon!

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