Kiltsandswords's Reviews > Must Love Breeches

Must Love Breeches by Angela Quarles
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it was amazing

The moment I started reading this book I immediately thought of Outlander by Diana Gabaladon and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Vierra Rigler. The concept of time travelling to one of my favourite time periods. I immediately fell in love with the concept and the plot! This book was amazing! A definite top ten contender and I can’t wait to re-read it as I breathlessly read as fast as I could to learn what would happen next.
Isabelle is a modern day American who has moved to London for work and a fresh start. She adores her work at the British museum and is attending a period costume ball when the most amazing thing happens. She strokes a silver card case she is carrying while wishing she was actually at a ball in 1834. She all of a sudden ends up at a London ball in 1834 having no idea where she is and how she got there. She quickly befriends Lady Ada Byron (daughter of that Lord Bryon) and the delicious Lord Montagu. I thought it was hilarious how she navigated her foray into this new world. Snapping a cell phone picture of Lady Ada, insisting on walking home and using foul language.
I adored how the author treated the differences in societies. Isabelle wears contact lenses and eventually had to trade them in for spectacles. I loved how the author described the visit to the eye wear shop. I have always thought about what it would be like to be alive during this time and since I wear contacts, I’ve shuddered with dread at the idea of not having access to them. I liked how the author addressed old fashioned solutions to our modern day conveniences. When Lord Montagu is injured and Isabelle treats his wound, she applies modern day medical knowledge including washing hands. She is treated like she has three heads for suggesting such a thing, but we know how imperative it is not to spread germs. It was fascinating to view England in 1834 from Isabelle’s modern perspective. When Isabelle is not allowed to eat alone in an inn, open a bank account or stroll down the street alone, her indigent attitude is exactly what a modern day woman would feel. So often historical romance novels make this a normal part of a lady’s routine, but Isabelle chafes at the restrictions.
For such a modern woman, Isabelle learns how delicate and precarious her situation has become. She cannot support herself. Therefore she relies on the charity of Lady Ada and Lady Somerville. She reluctantly agrees to pretend to be affianced to Lord Montagu in order to help him with a problem (which he doesn’t want to reveal).
Unlike the book Austenland by Shannon Hale, Isabelle isn’t play acting at being a lady in 1800 England. She must figure out quickly how to navigate society in order to survive. Mistakes made by the characters in Austenland would have been ignored, but when Isabelle makes a foible or slips, it is immediately noticed. One thing that caught my attention was Isabelle’s use of contractions. Apparently in England in the 1800s no one used contractions when speaking. They excuse her language since she is from America and the colonies do things so very differently. I guess I never noticed in all the books I have read in this genre that the characters don’t speak in contractions. They certainly don’t swear like Isabelle.
The book highlights the scientific achievements of the time and is one of the first books I have read that details the Scientific Societies of the time. The author makes sure to include the contributions of women and how a learned woman was not always labelled a bluestocking. Considering there was no tv or movies, trips to the opera or plays and attending meetings at things like the Scientific Societies were the main forms of entertainment for the day.
One thing that doesn’t change regardless of the date or setting is attraction between a man and a woman. Or for that matter friendship. Isabelle’s relationships with Phineas (Lord Montagu) and Lady Ada could happen in modern times, although I would wager that most women don’t invite a virtually stranger into their home, protect, feed and clothe them to the extent Lady Ada does for Isabelle. The relationship between Phineas and Isabelle starts off rocky as he finds her attractive but strange. She speaks in riddles and language that he doesn’t quite understand. However, as he is in need of a pretend betrothed, she is the perfect fit. The growing attraction between the two gets stronger and stronger, especially when she discovers that her modern day London home actually belongs to him in 1834.
I was so curious how a modern woman and a gentleman from the 1800s would fit together in the bedroom. It seems time travel doesn’t erase the basest instincts humans possess. It was amazing when they kissed and as the reader I wanted more. I worried how her lack of virginity would impact the relationship, but when the heat turns up, it doesn’t matter. The scenes are hot and sort of a blend of what you would expect from a historical romance novel and a Nora Roberts modern day book.
Lord Montagu’s investigation takes over the last third of the book and adds some mystery and spice to the story that has Isabelle forced to make a difficult choice - to stay in 1834 or go home to her life in modern England. Once Phineas story is finally told, it makes you like the character even more than you already do because of his treatment of Isabelle and generally being a great catch.
This book was just so much fun! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to re-read. I will definitely be sharing this book with others so they too can laugh, cry and marvel at the wonderful story Angela Quarles has created!

Reviewed for Kiltsandswords Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy!
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Reading Progress

August 19, 2014 – Started Reading
August 19, 2014 – Shelved
August 20, 2014 – Finished Reading

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