Review: Pursuing Lord Pascal by Anna Campbell


September 30, 2016
(.99 cent eb00k)


You know that feeling you get when you’re at the very beginning of what you already know is going to be a good book?  The one that’s like the first flush of a new romance, when you’re so happy that someone (or some book) so wonderful exists in the world and that you–you!–get to be with him/her/it?  I LOVE that feeling.  It’s one of the best in all the world, right alongside the joy of jumping into a pile of autumn leaves.

I’m happy to say that this very feeling is immediately available to each and every one of you, and for the minuscule cost of 99 cents.  Interested?  Well, then!  Get thee to Anna Campbell’s Pursuing Lord Pascal, a delightful tale of “London’s handsomest man” and his (ultimately successful–yay!) attempts to win the heart of a beautiful, plucky widow.

When Gervaise Dacre, Lord Pascal lays eyes on Amy, Lady Mowbray, at yet another boring ball, he’s instantly captivated.  She’s gorgeous, she’s a grown-up (unlike all the simpering misses falling at his feet), and, most of all, she’s got a brain in her beautiful head.  Before he can blink, Pascal realizes that he must have her, even if it means putting aside his plan to marry for much-needed money.  Amy, however, can’t imagine that Gervaise is actually interested.  After all, her short marriage to Lord Mawbray (40 years her senior) was much more a meeting of the minds than the bodies, and she’s accepted that her life will be one largely devoid of the joys of the bedroom.  Gervaise makes it his mission to prove her wrong.  Thus ensues a wooing in which Amy, an agricultural genius who’s more at home in muck boots than ball gowns, falls head over heels in love with England’s most eligible libertine.

I absolutely adored this book.  It’s well written, endearing, and full of delicious Regency details.  Most especially, the romance between Amy and Gervaise is just lovely.  Their attraction to one another crackles, and the scenes in which they finally realize those feelings are worth the wait.  This is wonderfully balanced by their growing affections for one another; as the sexual tension between them builds, so too does the trust and intimacy, such that each is able to reveal doubts and insecurities they thought they’d never share with another person.  By the end of the book I felt like I was watching two beloved friends finding true love in one another…and who doesn’t want that?!

One of the best part of this book is the dialogue.  The conversations are often funny or moving and are always intensely believable.  The banter between Amy and Gervaise is charming and witty, and more than once I found myself giggling aloud at their interactions.  This kind of realism is a feat for any writer, but especially one whose story is set centuries in the past. Many historicals often fall victim to language that feels foreign or antiquated, or, conversely, that sounds too modern.  Not so with Pursuing Lord Pascal.  It’s all just spot on, and as someone who reads as much (or more) for prose as for plot, I can’t say how much I appreciate that.

On a more radical gender-related note, I really appreciate that Campbell has written a heroine who is, as they say, a grown ass woman.  Like Gervaise, I admire that Amy is a mature, interesting, adult human, rather than just some air-headed chit barely out of the school room.  There’s nothing wrong with being young, of course, but as a woman who is herself more than one and twenty (I mean, you know, by just a teensy bit), I like reading about heroines who’ve lived, who’ve rejoiced and mourned and made mistakes, and heroes who value their experience and wisdom.  This is a nice contrast with many novels that confirm our society’s obsession with youthful perfection by making their heroines 19 and “dewey-skinned” (why is their skin always dewey?!).

This is my first Anna Campbell novel, but I can say with certainty that it won’t be my last.  I’ve already bought all the rest of the books in the Dashing Widows series (I know, no restraint!) and can’t wait to fall madly in love with their heroes and heroines.

Want to know more?  Read an excerpt on Anna’s blog!

Have you read Anna Campbell’s books?  If so, tell us what you think!

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