Yes, I know it has been a while since I have written anything. As usual, all kinds of excuses – er reasons. Mostly, I am lazy.
I spent a couple weeks in mid to late-January with the Bank’s family. It is a lovely little saga written by Rose Gordon in series form. I actually started to read some it some time ago, but found that I had started in the middle. As with many series, although you may be able to read each book as a stand-alone because it deals with one couple and has a HEA, it is much nicer to read in order so you can get the full benefit of the supporting cast. So, I had to search out and acquire the earlier novels.
This series is Regency era romance and was written in groups. The first series group was the Scandalous Sister’s. We meet the oldest sister, Brook, in Intentions of the Earl. The main thing one has to remember about these lovely sisters is, they are American, born and raised, suddenly transplanted to British Society with all of its rules and propriety. If you get caught in a compromising situation there, you get married or you are “ruined”, even if it is as innocent as holding hands in the garden at night. *Gasp* How scandalous! Now add to that an Earl who is being black mailed to “ruin” one of the sisters and you have an interesting story. These are some outrageous characters that are not your usual staid British snobs. This was a fun romp.
So, I was looking forward to Liberty for Paul. We met both Liberty- the middle sister, and Paul – a curate at the local church, in Intentions of the Earl. They appeared to take an instant dislike of each other. Liberty was very much into “propriety”. She had over 500 books (they counted them) on the subject. However, she was also a practical joker – what she called seeking revenge – and ended up finding herself in an extremely compromising position. Liberty found herself married to Paul. The antics and machinations that went on in this romance was a hoot. I loved it.
Then we come to youngest sister, Madison in To Win His Wayward Wife. She had the most scandalous story of all! Wow! What a shocker. And she hooks up with Benjamin – the guy who was doing the black mailing in Intentions of an Earl. Now you see why you benefit from reading these in order. This one had a bit of intrigue and murder attempts going on. Added spice to the story.
That brings us to the next group of books – The Grooms Series, which is where I had started with the first and second books, Her Sudden Groom and Her Reluctant Groom. As mentioned, I enjoyed them, but too many of the earlier characters bled over into the stories and I often felt a bit lost. Her Sudden Groom is about Alexander Banks – cousin to the sisters and Caroline Sinclair – cousin to his good friend Marcus. Actually, Alex is betrothed to Marcus’ sister Olivia, who no one can stand. Yep! You guessed it. This is about how he went from being betrothed to Olivia to being married to Caroline.
In Her Reluctant Groom it is Marcus’ turn to get a bride but he almost blows it when Emma is at the church about to say her I do’s to another guy. This one especially made me aware I needed to read the other books because so many of the other characters take a significant part in this book. More machinations.
Book three of the Groom series is Her Secondhand Groom. This is about Patrick – Best friend to Marcus, and Juliet – whose only claim to fame is her father borrowed money from Patrick’s father to send her to school and a season to find a husband. She wasn’t successful, finds herself married to Patrick and Motherness to his three daughters. These two needed to learn how to communicate before they could find their HEA.
Book Four was Her Imperfect Groom. Off all the books in this saga, this was my favorite. It is about Edwina Banks – Alexander’s sister and Sir Wallace – the guy Emma almost married in Her Reluctant Groom. Of all the characters, these two are the most endearing. They both have issues that are common place today, but back then, OMG. The problems they had dealing. I mean only descriptions were used to describe the issues. Emma couldn’t read because the letters did funny things and went in different directions than what they were supposed to. And Sir Wallace would suddenly find it difficult to breath, let alone talk, when stressed. He coped by counting – everything and was very regimented in his routines. (Does this sound like dyslexia, anxiety disorder and a little OCD?) A match made in heaven. It was wonderful how they complimented and calmed each other, supported and helped each other with everyone else throwing spanners in the works. Yes, this one was my favorite. I loved it.
The next series of books was the Banks Brothers. This took us back to see how Alexander and Edwina’s parents, Edward and Regina met and got married in His Contract Bride. Yes, it started as an arranged marriage. We also find out why the Banks family Townhouse in London was so uniquely decorated. I was pleased to finally learn that piece of information. The outrageously decorated drawing room, especially, figured heavily in more than one of the books. It was a fun look at the why of many of the “traditions” of the earlier books.
His Yankee Bride is about the sister’s parents, John and Carolina. Ms Gordon started to loose me here. It may be because I was reading one book after another, but I found this couple totally uninspiring. I didn’t like them near as much as the others. The story was okay, but there was, what I thought, a manger issue with this story. Ms Gordon decided to use some local dialect/accent in this book. She did it badly, and continued to attempt in the next two books. In this book, the “house slave” that raised Carolina was the person doing the talking. I am sorry, but house slaves did not sound like field slaves, especially if they were instrumental in raising the children. They also did not sound like the Italian Mob which is the only group I can think of that uses “yous” all the time. This took me right out of the story and made me shutter. Totally ruined the book for me.
Then she does it again in His Jilted Bride about Elijah – younger brother of Alexander and Edwina, and Amelia – neighbor to the Banks’ and childhood friend. In this book it is a restaurant owner who is speaking poorly. Now we all know, according to Eliza Dolittle, that to work in a shop one has to speak “more gentile like”, not sound like the Italian Mob. At least in this book, I found Elijah and Amelia a bit more likable and engaging.
Finally we have His Brother’s Bride about Henry – Elijah’s twin and Laura – Elijah’s betrothed. *grin* We did come pretty much full circle with this book. Not only had Laura kind of back mailed Elijah into signing a betrothal contract, she is the widow of the guy who got Madison in trouble in the first series. A lot of loose ends were finally tied off and the series brought to a very satisfying end, until the kids grow up and start looking for mates. But again, I was brought right out of the story with badly written “accent”. Please, Please! Don’t try and write a Scottish brogue, just tell us they are speaking with one. I will hear the Scottish brogue as I read it without being yanked from the story. I think this one was the worst yet, and in a very poignant part of the story, the wedding. It would have been a beautiful wedding if I hadn’t had to deal with the Italian mob speaking the ceremony.
Overall, with the exception of the Italian mob showing up in the last three books, I enjoyed this series of books very much. The characters were wonderful and well written. I enjoyed visiting with them in each book and would recommend them to anyone. Just beware of the Italian mob. 😉