LADY WINDERMERE’S LOVER
The Wild Quartet #4
by Miranda Neville
Paperback/EBook Pages: 384
E-galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Hell hath no fury . . .
Damian, Earl of Windermere, rues the day he drunkenly gambled away his family’s estate and was forced into marriage to reclaim it. Now, after hiding out from his new bride for a year, Damian is finally called home, only to discover that his modest bride has become an alluring beauty—and rumor has it that she’s taken a lover. Damian vows to keep his wife from straying again, but to do so he must seduce her—and protect his heart from falling for the wife he never knew he wanted.
Lady Cynthia never aspired to be the subject of scandal.
Lady Cynthia never aspired to be the subject of scandal. But with her husband off gallivanting across Persia, what was a lady to do? Flirting shamelessly with his former best friend seemed like the perfect revenge . . . except no matter how little Damian deserves her loyalty, Cynthia can’t bring herself to be unfaithful. But now that the scoundrel has returned home, Cynthia isn’t about to forgive his absence so easily—even if his presence stirs something in her she’d long thought dead and buried. He might win her heart . . . if he can earn her forgiveness! HarperCollins
Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Play About a Good Woman is a four-act comedy by Oscar Wilde, first produced 22 February 1892 at the St James’s Theatre in London. The play was first published in 1893. Like many of Wilde’s comedies, it bitingly satirizes the morals of Victorian society, particularly marriage.
The story concerns Lady Windermere, who discovers that her husband may be having an affair with another woman. She confronts her husband but he instead invites the other woman, Mrs Erlynne, to his wife’s birthday ball. Angered by her husband’s unfaithfulness, Lady Windermere leaves her husband for another lover. After discovering what has transpired, Mrs Erlynne follows Lady Windermere and attempts to persuade her to return to her husband and in the course of this, Mrs Erlynne is discovered in a compromising position. It is then revealed Mrs Erlynne is Lady Windermere’s mother, who abandoned her family twenty years before the time the play is set. Mrs Erlynne sacrifices herself and her reputation in order to save her daughter’s marriage. The best known line of the play sums up the central theme:
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.—Lord Darlington Wikipedia
PLEASE be sure to come back Monday for my interview with Miranda Neville and a Giveaway!
When I first heard about LADY WINDERMERE”S LOVER I was immediately interested because of the title. When I was a 17 year old college sophomore I took an acting class as part of a theatre minor and did a soliloquy from the play that was part of Miranda’s inspiration for the story.
I wanted to see how she tied this entry in her “Wilde” series to the play. And, her name and reputation was also an attractive feature. And it is obvious Miranda Neville knows her stuff and can not only read history but synthesize it to create a story that encompasses the political, diplomatic and social realms in a way that intrigues and delights.
Not placed in the Victorian era like Wilde’s play, the book is loosely themed on the earlier story of imagined or perceived infidelity and an unwillingness to break through societal reserves to utter words of feeling. All could be lost based on that: position, financial status and ability to help others. As is often the case, all must nearly be lost to learn how much it means.
The story is very human underneath the intrigue and danger, which doesn’t really have as much to do with the story as the personal side: Damian and Cynthia’s marriage and Damian’s friendships. In addition to the influence of Wilde, Neville brings in a little Pygmallion as well as Damian learns he has taken a mouse and given her the means by which to become a strong and beautiful woman. But even with a new sophistication her simple decency are what matters most. Unlike the falseness of the diplomatic circles he works within, she is real and true. That’s why he cannot really reconcile with her supposed indiscretion; otherwise he really would have no need to make it work. The fact that the indiscretion is with a former friend is interesting; is he wanting her or does he want to get back at his friend?
I was very interested in the social issues brought up through the Spittalfields connections (see 6/19/14 post We Didn’t Start the Fire:) and the other societal tumult of the day: a rise in concern for abuse of women, labor rights and equal pay (something we’re still working on). This is another area where the historical research is outstanding, as is Neville’s use of the vernacular of the day.
If you like well-researched and fast-paced, steamy Regency romance with great writing then this is a good choice for you and you definitely want to get back here Monday, June 23 for my interview with Miranda Neville and a Giveaway of a copy of LADY WINDERMERE’S LOVER.At Amazon At B&N