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The Dangerous Baron Leigh

Miss Haycroft's Suitors

Miss Timothy Perseveres

The Unexpected Wife

An Uncommon Bequest

 
Lord Nick’s Folly by Emily Hendrickson
(Signet, $4.99, G) ISBN
**
It may be historically accurate, but why, oh why, would an author name a heroine “Nympha”? Isn’t this akin to naming a hero Lord Studley or the Duke of Dickhead? When a reader starts out by hooting at the heroine’s name, it’s not an auspicious beginning.

Miss Nympha Herbert is invited to the home of her great-aunt, and her mother informs her she will go and visit the old lady. Nympha has been in a blue funk since the love of her life, Lord Philip Stanhope, married someone else. Maybe a visit is just what she needs. So Nympha re-makes an old gown to resemble something fashionable and sets off for the town of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire.

Meanwhile, Lord Nick Stanhope, Philip’s younger brother, is perturbed when a dead man is found on his newly-constructed golf links. The man has apparently been bludgeoned to death with one of Nick’s golf clubs. Nobody believes Nick could have done it, but nobody knows who the man is, either. The only clue is a receipt from the town of Mansfield. Nick decides to head for Mansfield and try to solve the mystery.

Enroute, Nympha and Nick run into one another when her carriage has an accident. Nick offers to escort Nympha to Mansfield, along with the rather mysterious Mr. Milburn. Nympha isn’t happy to see Nick, since she fancies that she detests him, but agrees to his plan. Soon the three are on their way to Mansfield.

Nympha thinks Nick is insufferable. Nick thinks Nympha is aggravating. They are both right. Unfortunately, the focus is on their biased feelings toward each other and there’s little left in the way of personality for either one. Nick fusses over the mud on his boots and decides Nympha could have acted worse. Nympha fumes over Nick’s arrogance. They bored me, both of them.

There is more in the way of plotting, including the murder mystery and an unexpected inheritance, but with characters this bland, it was hard to care. On the plus side, the author uses an unexpected plot twist based on an actual event, and while it may strike some readers as contrived, I thought it was fairly inventive. The character of Mr. Milburn is fairly obvious from the start, though his motivations are never clearly defined. The resolution will likely be rather puzzling to readers.

Overall, Lord Nick’s Folly made little impression. If you’re a Regency lover and a diehard golf fan, you may find something here to entertain you, but if not, I’d recommend leaving Lord Nick and Nympha alone.

--Cathy Sova


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