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Libby's London Merchant (Benedict Nesbitt #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  575 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Beautiful Miss Libby Ames knew little about the man who landed unexpectedly at her country manor. Only that he called himself Mr. Nesbitt Duke, a London merchant. And after one look at Libby, he claimed he’d fallen in love. But it was soon clear that this handsome stranger was not being entirely truthful.

Arriving at Libby’s doorstep was not fate, but rather an encounter of
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by Signet
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Lord Carew's Bride by Mary BaloghThe Temporary Wife by Mary BaloghReforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla KellyMrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla KellyThe Rake by Mary Jo Putney
Traditional Regency
34th out of 499 books — 228 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenOutlander by Diana GabaldonJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëDevil in Winter by Lisa KleypasPersuasion by Jane Austen
100 Historical Romances To Read Before You Die
352nd out of 1,050 books — 1,331 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,021)
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Lady Wesley
Apr 20, 2013 Lady Wesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Regency romance readers
I picked up this book reluctantly, even though Carla Kelly is one of my favorite authors. It involves a duke disguised as a chocolate merchant meeting and falling in love with a penniless lady whom he mistakenly believes is wealthy. Meh. But there were some glowing reviews, and CK has never let me down.

So I began slowly, and then I could hardly put it down. This is one of the best romances I've ever read! Carla Kelly is a genius. It is no accident that this book is a 5-star Desert Island Keeper
Jennifer (FFT Reviews)
4 Stars

Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--January--Short Shorts. The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

Libby's London Merchant has been on my radar ever since I started reading historical romance in undergrad and I was excited to get a copy through Paperback Swap. Then I got distracted and three years later (!), I hadn't even opened it. But, thanks to the 2015 TBR Challenge over at The Misadventures of Super Librarian, I finally read it! And I found to be both surprising and enjoyab
Closer to 3.5 stars

You've heard of the phrases 'beauty is skin-deep' and 'appearances can be deceiving'. LIBBY'S LONDON MERCHANT concerned three people and how each of their appearances affected the other. It was the first of two books about Benedict Nesbett, the Seventh Duke of Knaresborough. I strongly recommend if you are interested in this duo to read LLM before starting ONE GOOD TURN.

Nez, as he is called by family and friends, had drunk himself into blindness. Oh, wait a minute, it is the p
I've said it before, but it warrants repeating: Carla Kelly is a genius. I read this straight through in about five hours and finally turned my light out at about 3.30am with all the good swirly feelings rattling around my heart. That's rather the problem with trying to review Kelly. So much of her appeal is in that completely undefinable ability to write a story that storms its way right into your soul and yet does so with such subtlety you don't even realise it until it's 2am and you simply mu ...more
Ana T.
Apr 21, 2009 Ana T. rated it really liked it
I was quite surprised when I picked up this book. At first glance, it seemed to have many things I don’t particularly like romance, the first of which is a love triangle, but it the end Kelly convinced me again. I wasn’t as enthusiastic as with the previous one I read by her but it was a satisfying read, especially because the right man won in the end.

So, Kelly starts off with something that is not that original. Two drunken friends, one asks the other to go and check if the fiancée his father
Feb 06, 2016 Georgie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Georgie by: Wollstonecrafthomegirl
3.5 stars
The dashing young man or the unromantic local doctor? It's not clear till nearly the end which Libby will choose, and while the story itself is told as intelligently and sensitively I'd expect from Carla Kelly, I could have done with a more extended HEA. I'd invested in the characters and I wanted some validation of the outcome. But that's a small gripe against the pleasure I got from the subtle characterisation and period detail. Carla Kelly's books are generally quite limited in foc
Kathy ~ Bookworm Nation
Sep 24, 2012 Kathy ~ Bookworm Nation rated it liked it
Shelves: regency, 2012

I’m still wavering on the rating for this one. I did enjoy it and was surprised by the way everything turned out, but there was just something off for me. I think Ms. Kelly is an excellent writer and really brings the characters to life. I liked that this wasn’t your typical regency, the story and characters were unique. I really liked Libby; I think she was easy to relate to. I liked that she was strong, but not overpowering. I was a bit surprised when a love-triangle unfolded, you don’t see
Jul 26, 2014 Froggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2014
I couldn't put it down. Do not read any reviews at all if you plan to read this book.

(view spoiler)
This is a hard book to review. It's very different from your typical Regency plot. For one thing, it deals with PTSD, survivor's guilt and alcoholism. A good chunk of the novel is taken up with helping someone withdraw from alcohol. It makes the tone of the novel more serious than I usually like.

Then, there's a love triangle. A very unexpected love triangle because both the gentlemen are likeable and I wanted them both to succeed and be happy. Yet my heart was pulling Libby towards one of the m
Aug 16, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing
An excellent story that kept you guessing all the way to the end as to who Libby would end up marrying. I was just as confused as Libby as to who she should select. This book had characters with some depth to them. Not like other regenices where it mainly revolves around parties and beautiful clothing. This story takes you to the country where you follow the lives of a country doctor, a young lady and her mentally challenged younger brother, and a duke that disguises himself as a chocolate merch ...more
Jun 19, 2014 H2bourne rated it really liked it
What a well-told story! I appreciated the twists and turns and the fact that the ending is not what you'd expect. This had engaging characters including the heroine, Elizabeth (Libby) Ames, whose father should have been heir (Baronet) but because he married a tobacconist's daughter was disinherited and his younger brother then inherited the title and fortune. Libby's cousin, Lydia, is now the heiress to the Ames fortune and is betrothed to a gentleman that has a title but his pockets are to let. ...more
Carla Kelly, you did not let me down. Just when I thought this was going to descend into regency romance cliche territory, you deftly and surprisingly and blissfully steered this in the other direction just in time. I haven't been surprised at the ending of a book in a long time, but you got me with this one. Happily so.

Another delightful and addicting book from Carla Kelly. I'm looking forward to devouring the sequel.
Aug 23, 2012 Dara rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 15, 2014 Roub rated it liked it
this was a fun, light n entertaining read. i felt nez n libby falling in love. we had glimpses of both's POVs n it was obvious they both loved each other. she refused anthony's proposal bcoz it was nez she loved. she loved him 4 himself, without knowing he was a duke. she thought he was a chocolate merchant but she still loved him. she nursed him back 2 health, hemmed her father's pants 4 him. she was just so sweet n a kid at heart! unfortunately he killed her love. he was outrageous n he humili ...more
Not my favorite Kelly. I think I am getting tired of the Doctor main character and the too perfect help whenever she can heroine. I seem to be reading books where these two are in everyone of Kelly's story's. I was actually most interested in the Duke and hoped I would see a new hero who would be changed by the love of a good woman, and we did get a little of that. I guess I was just a little floored where this book ended up going and a little irritated. I also have issues with the movement of m ...more
May 13, 2016 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carla Kelly took Regency romance tropes and lovingly turned them on their ear in this book. She isn't another Jane Austen - no one is - but like Austen she's given the reader a variety of characters, some wise and some foolish, some likable and others despicable, and set them loose in a story that deeply satisfies. All those times you wanted the clever, noble heroine to get a man really worthy of her... here she does. The stories where you wished character counted more than title or wealth? Here ...more
Author: Carla Kelly
First published: 1991
Length: 4251 locations
Setting: Kent, 1817 (two years after Waterloo).
Sex: clean.
Heroine: Poor relation of Earl. Followed the drum with her father. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Hero 1: Duke. Alcoholic. Fought at Waterloo. Some light ptsd.
Hero 2: Doctor.
Includes: excerpt from One Good Turn by Carla Kelly.

A typical romantic triangle with the beautiful, virginal heroine, the reforming, wealthy Bad Boy and the bumbling village boy who has loved her from afar.

A clev
Carla Kelly knows how to write her characters. From the very beginning, I loved them. Libby is the kind of woman we find in her books: strong yet a bit vulnerable, loving and taking care of everybody; not rich but not precisely in poverty (she depends on her uncle, however). Then we have the setting, in a rural part of UK (I much prefer her romances set in UK). No balls, no kidnappings, yet a nice story that I enjoyed reading it heartily.

However, as much as I loved Benedict Nesbitt and Anthony C
Apr 06, 2014 Doreen rated it really liked it
I love Carla Kelly. Her books are thoughtful, often touching, often painful. I didn't even mind that I'd read the sequel before I read this book. But two things right at the beginning of it made me squirm. Firstly, the mention of bright sunlight in 1816, the Year Without A Summer. I know there might have been sunshine in spite of everything, but normal summer weather continues to be mentioned. The second was the mention of chocolate. The conching process was not invented until much later in the ...more
Mar 13, 2016 Patsyann rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2013 Sheri rated it it was amazing
This is an older story, recently released in digital. I enjoyed it so much.

This story is different. Quite different.

There's a handsome man--a duke--who served under Wellington. He's an alcoholic whose drinking has been completely out of control since his return from the war. He stops drinking and goes through the DT's while under the care of the heroine, Libby, and the local physician, Dr. Cook. Slowly, he falls in love with the gorgeous Libby and she falls in love with him.

But there's another
benedict nesbitt, nez, is a duke, and trying to escape the women that his sisters continually try to set him up with. he agrees to help his friend, who doesn't want an arranged marriage with an heiress. nez agrees to go check her out. unbeknownst to both of them, however, the heiress has headed elsewhere with her father and aunt. left at the house are the poor cousin, libby, and her mentally challenged brother. when nez has an accident outside the house, libby calls in the doctor, antho
Another wonderful book from Carla Kelly. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Spoilers ahead.

It’s rare that I read a book where heading into the end that I am uncertain of who the heroine will end up marrying, but here I wasn’t positive until the very end.

The Duke of Knarlborough has become a raging alcoholic since returning from the Napoleanic wars. While drinking with his friend Eustace, Nesbit agrees to travel to Kent and spy on the woman to whom Eustace’s father has promised him and he’ll do
Feb 16, 2016 Peyton rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mailee Pyper
Mar 25, 2014 Mailee Pyper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! It was surprising and fun, but also deeply meaningful. Libby is such a great character and her struggle to recognize what she really wants is so sincere that you can't help routing for her. It also shows people as people, no one in this book is a perfect hero and no one is a perfect villain either. Each character is a mix of good and bad, strengths and flaws and it is easy to relate to all of them in each of their various situations.
Melanie (Moviemavengal)
Aug 02, 2015 Melanie (Moviemavengal) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I don't want to spoil this by describing the plot in any detail. This book was full of wonderful surprises. The story seems like one that is oh so familiar and then veers into delightful new directions. I was inwardly squeeing and just loved it! You find yourself wishing for the opposite of what you thought you wanted to happen -- just like the heroine!
Mar 25, 2015 Christy rated it liked it
i liked the story here, it was a little different than most books of this sort- it addresses more social issues than class and "society" but rather explores alcoholism and special needs. I liked the characters, how Nez and Libby evolve in contrast to Lydia and Eustace. It wasn't as witty as other Carla Kelly novels and i missed that here.
What a surprise...
I loved that factor, although her indecision was annoying at times.
There was that one thing at the end that wasn't a good shock, but more of a why is that in this "clean" book, but everything else was pretty alright.
Jan 07, 2016 Hopefulpuffin rated it it was amazing
Holy mackerel. I've been putting off reading this one for a while only because I really love Carla Kelly and I'm quickly running out of her books.

There is so much going on: alpha hero with problems, beta hero, love triangle, addiction, developmentally disabled brother, snooty friends/relatives.

It took a couple of chapters to get going but once it did, it took off.

Now I have to decide whether to read the sequel now or torment myself by reading something else first. Oh to have such problems.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Although Carla Kelly is well known among her readers as a writer of Regency romance, her main interest (and first writing success) is Western American fiction—more specifically, writing about America's Indian Wars. Although she had sold some of her work before, it was not until Carla began work in the National P
More about Carla Kelly...

Other Books in the Series

Benedict Nesbitt (2 books)
  • One Good Turn (Nesbitt, #2)

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