3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
“Identity theft regency style” was the description that first grabbed my attention. I’ve never read a Regency romance novel before, but as I was looking for something different, something to distract from personal struggles, I decided to give this one a try. Ridiculous! by D.L. Carter was advertised as a humorous, witty and captivating read. It certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. In keeping with its name, the book was both ridiculous, and entertaining.
When the horrible Mr. Anthony North passed away during the night, Millicent, her mother, and two younger sisters were freed from their duties as unpaid servants but left with limited options. Millicent rose to the occasion and decided to assume Mr. North’s identity in order to protect and care for her family. The name “Millicent Boarder” was then buried in the ground along with her cousin's body, and the new and improved Mr. North had the freedom and ability to manage the finances as he/she saw fit.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Mulan, one of my favorite Disney movies. Both the book and the movie had strong female leads willing to act as men in order to protect and defend their families. "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all" was said of Mulan and could also be applied to Millicent. So, too, could the quote, "you don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty."
Assuming the identities of men wasn’t where the similarities ended. Millicent lived in a time when women were meant to be pretty, demure, and delicate creatures, without an intelligent thought in their heads. "How about a girl who’s got a brain, who always speaks her mind?" When Millicent became a man, she found she rather enjoyed being able to express her thoughts, to take charge of situations, to travel where, when and how she saw fit. It’s during one of those trips to her other estates that she happened upon Timothy Shoffer, the Duke of Trolenfield and his sister, Elizabeth. Instant friendships were formed and continued throughout the book. Romantic feelings toward Shoffer on Millicent’s part were also instantaneous, but she tried to be content with their manly friendship and the amount of time they got to spend together as pals.
The dialogue and writing style were in keeping with the time period, which enhanced the authenticity of the story. I was transported back in time, able to learn about the culture surrounding London society in the 1800s. Part of the ridiculous nature of the book was reading about Millicent and her family’s attempt to navigate all of the many social rules of the time. The number of dos-and-don’ts, and who-said-whats, and who-was-seen-with-whos, and who-wore-whats was astounding. I’m convinced I wouldn’t have been able to survive in that time period regardless of my gender. Because it was a little over the top, drama fans would certainly enjoy that aspect of the story.
My main complaint was that the middle of the book seemed to drag. A lot of time was devoted to the numerous social events that Millicent’s family attended. “Mr. North” became the life of every party, playing the part of a witty, humorous fool, set on entertaining the Ton. We got detailed scenes depicting how clever she was in saving certain social situations, and for a time, it was enjoyable. It just went on too long, in my opinion. With the amount of socializing she did, I also found it a little unbelievable that her identity wasn't realized right away.
Finally, there was this brilliant build up between Millicent and Shoffer. I found myself breathless with anticipation, wondering how the author would manage the big unveiling of Mr. North’s true identity. Unfortunately, the result was a tad anticlimactic. It wasn’t that it was poorly written, it just fell flat, and I was left disappointed. However, I’m happy to report that all loose ends were tied neatly together, and everyone received their happyily ever afters.
I did notice a handful of editing and grammatical errors, mostly in the form of missing commas, but those mistakes didn't interfere with the reading of the story. I’ve decided to rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars, since I don’t think it quite reached the highest 4-star rating. I’d recommend this book to Regency romance lovers, as well as to people who like witty, take-charge female leads. However, if you’re not a fan of high drama stories and old-fashioned language, you may want to avoid this one. I also wouldn’t recommend to readers looking for a heavy dose of romantic action. The romance didn’t pick up until the last 30% of the story, which I didn’t mind, but others might. All in all, an enjoyable, light-hearted read!
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Bonnie Shelby's review? Post a comment saying so!