At twentyfour, wild, freespirited Calista Ashton would rather race horses than flirt with gentlemen, but when two men show up to court her, the inexperience dame's head is spinning from all the attention. Original.
This book is what people are talking about when they say "a Regency romp!" Jessica Benson has penned an *amazingly* good first novel with "Lord Stanhope's Proposal". The writing is excellent, the characters delightful and the plot an intricately woven comedy of manners (and errors!) The book reads like a cross between Georgette Heyer and Julia Quinn--and I mean that as high praise! The heroine of the story, Miss Calista Ashton, is a 24 year old spinster and blue-stocking with a sharp wit, good heart and terrible clothes sense. She is the sister of a brandy-swilling vicar in a small village. When the Hon. Oswald Cravanndish (Ossie) is ordered by his formidable mother to rusticate and find a suitable bride (following an ignominious dive into Sally Jersey's punchbowl), he and his equally frivolous friends, Nev and Squibby, cook up a plan to travel to their friend, Elmo Lyttworth's, village and pretend to court the village spinster (Calista). Unfortunately, this plan is accompanied by bets being placed in the books at their club regarding the odds of Ossie's courtship meeting with success. Recognizing that his foolish cousin has endangered the reputation of an innocent lady, Tristan Rutherford-Hayes, Lord Stanhope, travels to the village as well in an attempt to defuse the situation and rescue the lady's reputation. And that is only the beginning of an extremely complicated and amusing plot.... Tristan, the Earl of Stanhope, is a marvelous hero--jaw-droppingly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent, charming, honorable and sexy. Bored with his string of vacuous mistresses and empty-headed society debutantes, he is challenged by Calista's wit and charmed by her lack of artifice. Calista, for her part, cannot believe that such a gorgeous paragon would really be interested in her. But the two are seldom left to ponder their blossoming love in peace, as alternative suitors and interfering chaperones pop in and out of the story at a delicious pace. The story does follow the plot of Georgette Heyer's "The Nonesuch" in general terms--a Corinthian, a paragon of society, and a confirmed bachelor, visits a small provincial village (that goes ga-ga over having such an august presence in their midst!) and ends up falling in love with the local spinster. Tristan is even referred to as "the Nonesuch" in this story and some of the dialogue is pure Heyer. To my mind, Jessica Benson has *improved* on the story since I always have thought that the hero and heroine in "The Nonesuch" were rather bland and uninteresting (and Tristan and Calista are definitely not that!) The secondary characters in "Lord Stanhope's Proposal" are also wonderfully well-drawn (although there is no one character to equal the pure brilliance of "The Nonesuch"'s beautiful, self-absorbed schemer, Tiffany Wield!) In summary, this is a charming, delightful romance that lovers of the Regency sub-genre should *adore*. Highly recommended!
The Best Regency I Have Ever Read
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
I have been reading regencies for years, and as far as category regencies go - this is without question the best one ever written. I don't give 5 stars very easily, but if I could I would give this one 10. This book is actually on a par with some of the best Georgette Heyer - no, I am not exaggerating! Let's start with our heroine, Calista. She is perfect - a genuine bluestocking, who purposely dresses down, spends her time doing good works, is marvelously intelligent, and yet has a wonderfully witty, dry sense of humor, even when it comes to herself! No silly, stupid snits and juvenile quarrels, no idiotically outraged miffs - she is wonderful. On to our hero, Stanhope. He is perfect - handsome, intelligent, a Corinthian, rich, titled, a sense of humor that matches Calista's, and the discernment to recognize in Calista the embodiment of his dreams. The secondary characters are brilliantly written, and the plot is intricately woven and amazingly fresh. I've purchased about twenty Lord Stanhope's Proposals for friends and family, and they all loved it. Please buy this book. I absolutely guarantee you will not regret it. My only regret is that I can't read it for the first time, but it's on my keeper shelf, and I do re-read it every couple months and still enjoy it every time.
Such a delight!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
I found this book utterly charming. As I got further into the book and the plot thickened, and I do mean thickened - with so many delightful subplots - I found that I carried the book with me everywhere to steal a few more reading minutes at any oppportunity. The dialog is so good that as times I chuckled out loud. At one point there is a potential disaster about to befall Lord Stanhope, which could destroy his ability to pursue Miss Ashton further and I found myself gasping and giggling as I realized how it was going to play out in his favor. I highly recommend this book. It's lots of fun and I was so sorry when it ended.
Great Regency Read!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
I have read tons of Regencies and have to say that Jessica Benson's Lord Stanhope's Proposal was a joy. Right from the clever prologue, I almost felt as if I were reading a Georgette Heyer. Miss Benson, like Heyer, assembled the most vivid cast of characters to people her novel, somehow having them all play their parts to bring the book to its satisfying ending. Stanhope was a dream and Calista a very appealing heroine. If you like Regencies, you'll LOVE Lord Stanhope's Proposal.
Regency Romance at its best
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
I found this book a delightful surprise - well drawn characters, good story lines and lots of fun. I found myself laughing out loud at the antics and the conversations. Something I haven't done since Georgette Heyer. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by Ms Benson.
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