Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr– no sex scenes (not quite clean either) but still quite charming. Not a perfect book, but I had given up hope of finding any more regencies worth reading, and this one has restored my faith a bit.
Three Men on a Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome (free from Gutenberg). This is an example of the “potentially great work forgotten because of casual racism” problem. This book would be perfectly lovely were it not for some pointless anecdote early on that uses the n-word and is probably even more racist than the n-word itself, but because it’s written in “dialect” it’s unreadable. That entire bit could be cut out without any negative effect on the book and the rest of the book is clean. Oh 19/20th century authors, why you gotta be so racist? You will probably find some of the scenes familiar because they’ve been repurposed for comedy without attribution in later media. (Similar to how you’ve probably seen the pineapple tin bit from Three men in a boat in cartoons.) The first couple of chapters (before the n-word anecdote) were literally laugh out loud funny.
Falling for Chloe by Diane Farr isn’t as good as Fortune Hunter (main characters are silly and don’t talk to each other, though that may be part of the joke), but omg, it is such a love letter to Georgette Heyer. Keep an eye out for your favorite Heyer characters from her Regency novels being mentioned throughout. One of the scenes, for example, is set in the come-out ball for Frederica’s sister.
Duel of Hearts by Diane Farr was an interesting one. Neither the hero nor the heroine is particularly likable. They are self-centered, obnoxious, and ridiculous. And yet, the story is very readable and pretty funny. The book would have been better if the likable secondary characters had been more well-developed. A quick library check-out read.
None of the rest of Diane Farr’s books have really been worth it. Not bad, but more skimming than actual reading. Reasonable library material if you’ve got extra time.
Tried Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston. It started out promising but then lost believably and added an ick factor when the son-of-a-gypsy-horse-trader doctor forced an unexpected and unwanted kiss on the society miss who was unable to move because of the twisted ankle her family was employing him to treat… that would be their fourth short meeting, btw. Huge Squick. The rest of the book just kind of goes downhill from there.
Loved the second in Leonora Bell’s Disgraceful Dukes series, If Only I Had a Duke, even more than the first. Again, she’s in the style of Sarah MacLean, not 100% historically accurate, but a lot of fun. This one has more likable characters, a better plot, and is a bit more believable than the first.
At the library I found a fun little novella by a woman named Marguerite Butler. It’s called Compromising Prudence. I liked it enough to want to buy a copy but they cannot be had for love or money. Nor do the remaining books in the “Mad Hatterly” series appear to be available anywhere. The publishing company has disappeared and neither used nor electronic copies seem to exist in exchange for money. If your library has a copy, it’s a fun (albeit too short) read.
What are you reading?