Ruth's Reviews > The Officer and the Proper Lady

The Officer and the Proper Lady by Louise Allen
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I really liked this one. The story is a great one, set among the Battle of Waterloo and its aftermath, and the characters are really great.

Things I liked about this one:

- The setting - the author has done a lot of research into what happened in Brussels at this decisive point in history, what people did and how it felt, and it really shows. The author has worked in some events which really happened, no matter how small, and it brings the whole story alive for me, in a way which most of the others in this series were not.

- The heroine - she is incredibly likeable. Yes, she is brave, making the decisions she makes, and following through with them, but the impression I'm really left with is her likeable intelligence. She's full of common sense, understands her responsibilities, but isn't really willing to sacrifice everything of her own happiness for them. She also understands how a "lady" should be behave, but also appreciates that there are occasions when that really doesn't matter. You just know she has the smarts, and the kind heart to make a wonderful life for herself and her hero.

- The hero - brave, naughty, fun-loving, this is a wonderful hero. He's the second son, but clearly loves the military life and loves women, booze, cards and fun.

Things I didn't like quite as much:

- Stephen/Stephano didn't play a big enough part for my liking. He made a minor appearance or two, but wasn't part of the action enough. His story was developed just that little bit further, but he could have been more in evidence all the way through

- The hero isn't enough of a rake - this is a constant nag of mine. My impression is that a large portion of aristocratic men slept their way through life, but the hero didn't really do anything particularly naughty in my books. Yes, he slept with loose women, yes, he gambled (but then everyone did), and yes, he drank like a fish (not medically advisable, but again nothing new), but he was essentially an honorable man. I would have preferred him to have been MUCH more naughty at the start of the book than he was.

So, in all, I really enjoyed this book. It had a wonderful atmosphere to it, which it shared with two others from this series Unlacing the Innocent Miss (Harlequin Historical #1016) by Margaret McPhee, and maybe The Smuggler and the Society Bride by Julia Justiss, and I do love the setting in one of the defining historical moments of the Regency era. It also had a very satisfying ending (you know they are going to have a wonderful marriage), and is well-written, advancing the series plot to just the right point for the next and concluding book of the series Taken by the Wicked Rake (Historical) by Christine Merrill, and surprise, surprise, the cover actually approaches something realistic, although I would have guessed the hero would have had a mustache (I don't know why, but that's how I imagine him), but I'll let them off, because the cover boy is so hot.

So, 4 stars, "I really liked this" and onto the concluding story.
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