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Libby's London Merchant

(Benedict Nesbitt #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  802 ratings  ·  84 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 o
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by Signet
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  802 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Lady Wesley
Feb 24, 2013 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
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
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
Suzanne Brockmann
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is probably my all-time favorite historical romance novel. It certainly was the first time I ever finished a book, turned back to the first page and immediately re-read it.
Rachel McMillan
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
she just writes the most fantastic heroes.
Mar 03, 2009 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
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
Sheryl Tribble
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Carla Kelly's stories are not what I would call witty or sparkling -- in fact, I often find the humor in them rather forced, as happened a time or two with this one -- but she still manages to come as close to Georgette Heyer as anyone I have read, in the sense that her characters become very real to me and so far (I haven't read a lot of her books) she is not predictable the way, say, Jayne Ann Krentz is. I adore JAK, but the fact is all her heroes and heroines are of the same personality types ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew by: Wollstonecrafthomegirl
Shelves: tag-reviewed, kindle
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
Kay (aka) Miss Bates
What a wonderful romance novel and so much more! Libby is more than an ingenue, but she's still callow enough not to realize right away who deserves her beauty, her love, her friendship and life-long fidelity. The course of how she does so is one of the best Regency romance novels I've ever read. You're welcome to read a more extensive review on my blog:
Kathy * Bookworm Nation

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
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it
10 stars, especially when combined with reading the follow up book - Doing no Harm. I didn't quite value this book until I read it the 2nd time. It was due to my ignorance that I didn't understand at first, the power of this author's writing. The H is a doctor and a very good man who loves the h so much, he put her happiness first. The h is sweet, very young and her situation is challenging. This a complex story with much to be resolved and I loved it.
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
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Highest marks I can give a book and extra credit for remaining clean and making me cry.
It was excellent.
Hit all the emotional levels. It was amusing, poignant, romantic, frustrating, lovely, and the ending had me reading blurry pages and reaching for the kleenex.
The writing was great. The dialogue was very good. The setting was fitting. The pace had a few lovely jolts around the steady bits. The characters were deeply engaging human beings with idiosyncrasies and foibles that made them adorable
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A romantic triangle that I didn't hate. Who knew it was even possible?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana Paula
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, doctors, 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite some spots where I had to really sssttttrrrreeeecccchhh my suspension of disbelief in the plot, this book is a very good romantic historical read.

The good points: interesting plot where the heroine Libby has to choose between two men - one of whom is a standard-issue Regency duke with all the trappings (great wealth, good looks, charm) and the other is an over-worked, excessively responsible country doctor with ordinary looks and a great deal of clumsiness whenever he's in Libby's vicini
Apr 14, 2014 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
Jul 26, 2014 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)
Aug 16, 2009 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
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Persephone Zahariou
Won't rate this cause (a) I didn't read it (10% dnf) and (b) my issue is mostly with the blurb. I don't like the POV either. Read on why... spoilers follow.

(view spoiler)
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, ebook, romance
Carla Kelly writes a bunch of what she calls "Dukeless Regencies", where the people are just ordinary, usually middle-class folks with jobs. This is not that, there is a duke in the mix, bubt it's very much built in the world where people worry about paying bills and experience real things like roasting hops and accepting social status gaps.

This one is unusual in that it tackles PTSD, alcoholism, and traumatic brain injury, without trying to sell us on any miraculous cures or sudden changes of p
More of a 3.5 star book for me. I was pleased with the ending, not so crazy for Nez as a person, but can see how his character is improving and maturing. Hopefully he'll make something of himself in the sequel, One Good Turn. Libby was a contrast of level-headed and a bit foolish to fall for a flashy duke. Seeing her finally realize what her true feelings were was refreshing, and timely. I loved Dr Cook!
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a refreshing romance! It is so unexpected, and left me wanting more of Libby and her husband, Dr. Anthony Cook. His clumsy, yet contagiously affable nature won me from the start and I was so relieved when Libby realized the depth of her affections for him.

Which makes me wonder, are there any recommendations out there for "larger" heroes who get the girl in the end? If he's a gentle giant all the better - and points for a strong heroine like Libby. Thank you!
Another great book! I’m so happy to have read only good stories lately.
This book is the one preceding One Good Turn (Nesbitt, #2) by Carla Kelly “One Good Turn” and it was interesting to see Benedict with Libby. His change starts in this first book, facing his drunk problem, finding love, respect and friendship in Libby and Anthony and then messing it all up as only Benedict can.
This story is very sweet. Libby is adorable and the shabby Anthony manages to become every girl’s dream with his warm regard and dedication for his patients.
Suz deMello
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book from a great writer

Karla Kelly off and emphasizes class differences in her Regency novels, and usually there is a happily ever after between one baseborn character and a member of the ton. The twists and turns of the surprising book make it impossible to predict its outcome, and I highly recommended.
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Heavy, fat, large hero who gets the girl??? 1 4 Nov 10, 2017 05:11PM  

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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

Other books in the series

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