An original novella introducing Romance of the Turf, Theresa Romain’s exciting new Regency romance series…
The lives of Sir Bartlett Crosby and Hannah Chandler have been marked by fierce competition between their elite families…the perfect breeding ground for a mutual attraction neither can deny.
Bart hopes to conquer “the turf” through victory in a much-touted match. Should his heavily-favored colt win, the Crosby reputation and fortunes would be revived. Bart’s plan seems poised for success until the lovely Hannah Chandler, daughter of a noted rival trainer, turns up claiming ownership of the colt. When Hannah insists on claiming her purchase, the prize colt disappears from Bart’s stable. Theft or treachery? As Hannah and Bart rush to solve the mystery before race time, they uncover a scandalous truth about their families’ pasts-a truth that has the potential to either destroy both their futures, or to guide them to a love they never imagined.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
The idea of a Regency series centered around horse racing is what drew me to this book – and not just because I love horses. The sport truly was a major part of Regency life and often gets ignored, so bonus points to Theresa Romain for heading to Newmarket for this novella.
However, much though I loved the idea, something about this story didn’t quite work for me: Hannah. What an awful person she is – selfish, brattish, rude and exceedingly petty. Her habit of calling Bart Mr Crosby, instead of using his title was so irritating. She often moans about how small and restricted her life is, despite her wealth and privilege. Perhaps if she wasn’t so petty and small-minded then her life would seem wider. Her insistence that she owns Golden Barb – a colt that was never for sale and sold under highly dubious circumstances – really annoyed me. She never once considers Bart, even when she thinks she’s falling in love with him. It’s all about her and what she wants, all the while she’s thinking about how unselfish she is. Ha!
I vastly preferred Bart. He’s a sweet, unassuming kind of man who gets tongue-tied and clumsy around women and just wants to race horses. However, there are times when he’s just too sweet – with his mother and frequently with Hannah. He lets them both trample all over him, even when he knows his mother knows more than she’s letting on, while the way he lets Hannah look through his family’s papers made no sense to me – considering the feud between their families and all.
I also found the romance to be a bit rushed and a little disappointing. Their attraction is pretty much instant, but Hannah has no respect for Bart at all and the way she treats him is terrible, making me wonder how hopeless he must have been with women if that seemed attractive to him. They also have vastly different goals and priorities, which made the whole romance seem a little hollow to me.
The story with the colt is a tangle of stuff and nonsense, but it kept the tale romping along quite nicely. I also enjoyed glimpses of historical Newmarket, although it is not and never has been a city – it’s a market town – but that’s a pretty minor thing.
So, overall, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. However, it’s a nice enough read with a touch of mystery, a sweet beta hero and a somewhat childish heroine. The horse racing aspect definitely makes it stand out from the crowd and I’m intrigued enough to want to read the first full length novel of the series. This one was just a little too short and its characters a little too annoying for me.
The Sport of Baronets is out November 3rd!
Visit Theresa Romain for more details.