Title: To Win a Viscount
Author: Frances Fowlkes
Series: Daughters of Amhurst #2
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 25th July
England, 1820. To gain a certain marquess’s notice, Lady Albina Beauchamp aims to win the derby. What she hadn’t planned for is the price handsome Mr. Edmund White asks in payment to train her to race: each lesson for a kiss.
A first place finish isn’t the only thing worth racing for
Lady Albina Beauchamp is in love with the Marquess of Satterfield. Unfortunately, his only interest is in horses, and doesn’t know she exists. But when the marquess confesses he will bestow his undying admiration on the jockey racing the winning horse at Emberton Derby, Albina sets out to win his affections by training to race.
Mr. Edmund White is a master groomsmen for the Earl of Amhurst in line for a viscountcy, should he abandon his passion for horses and become a respectable sheep owner. But horses are his love–until he meets Lady Albina and her silly notions of racing. When she affirms she will enter the derby with or without his assistance, Edmund not only instructs his student in racing, but seduction as well.
For Albina, a first place finish isn’t the only thing at stake. She must decide whether to take her place in society…or follow her heart and love a groom.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
This book doesn’t make any sense. Albina wants to marry the marquess because she loves him (supposedly) and knows that his social standing will repair the recent damage done to her family’s name. But first she must grab his attention – by doing something completely scandalous that would likely ruin her forever. This is the level of logic that this book bases itself on, and I’m sad to say it doesn’t get much better. Such as the idea that a curvy woman could ever attempt to pass herself off as male, while wearing tight clothing.
Another big problem is that I found Albina annoying. She’s headstrong and snobby and never thinks about consequences. Her twin Sarah is even worse of a snob, and the pair of them frequently come across as brats. Edmund is pretty boring too, except when it comes to horses.
Ah, the horses. That’s the one thing I was most excited about when beginning this book, and it’s also where I felt most letdown. This is not a book about horses. Despite both Albina and Edmund claiming to love horses, I’m not sure they even like them all that much – as shown by their total disregard for their mounts’ health by racing them straight out of the stable yard. The horses don’t even have names, let alone characters. They’re interchangeable transport things that are a major part of the plot, but have no presence. And the idea of putting a sidesaddle on a young racing Thoroughbred that has only ever been ridden astride made me roll my eyes, let alone the way Edmund “trains” Albina to race by getting her to gallop about a bit. And the way they continually get off the horses to wander about without that causing problems – only for Albina to calmly hoist herself back on board afterwards! Don’t even get me started on the idea that she can control a young, eager racehorse without issue – unless she’s in a sidesaddle, because then she is hopeless, of course. Oh, and the stallions. There seem to be a lot of stallions about, which considering the number of mares might prove tricky at times.
Then there’s the terminology. Some of this is definitely a UK/US thing, but it still irritated me since it’s supposedly set in Regency England. Barns are not stables, stables are not barns, they are completely different buildings. Horses don’t run, they gallop. And what the hell were the ribbons about? They’re reins! The only time I’ve ever heard reins referred to as ribbons is for carriages (and only in historical romances, which might possibly be down to to Georgette Heyer). It bugged me every single time. Oh, and English riding usually requires the rider to hold the reins in both hands, not just one and especially not when racing.
Which leads to the question of why did I bother to finish this book? I’m not entirely sure. Stubbornness, probably. Persisting did mean that I found Albina improved a little as the book went on, but I also learned that the earl is a horrible manipulator who I ended up disliking excessively by the end of the book. There’s also a really weird scene where he keeps referring to Albina and her sisters as his kin and the Daughters of Amhurst. I don’t think even a Regency gentleman would call his sisters-in-law that.
So, overall, this book and I did not get along at all. The heroine is very childish at the beginning, the plot is daft, the other characters never did much to endear themselves to me, the historical accuracy is questionable at times and the lack of genuine horses in a book about racing was a major disappointment. I don’t think I’ll be reading the next one, even if the last chapter did it’s best to tease about what might happen next.
To Win a Viscount is out July 25th.
Visit Frances Fowlkes for more details.