I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ridiculous! by D.L. Carter
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Corvallis Press on May 19, 2012
Source: my own shelves
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First in the Ridiculous Lovers historical romance series and revolving around the Boarder family. The couple focus is on Millicent as Mr North and the Duke of Trolenfield.
Ridiculous! was silly, fun, and aggravating. I suspect Carter intends this series as a spoof on the Regency period, as her writing focuses on poking fun. Naturally, all this fun must be leavened by terror, which Carter also delivers well.
Carter’s characters are an interesting mix of good, evil, annoying, and bigoted. Okay, the bigotry isn’t overt . . . except in Grand’Mere’s case, lol. Oy. Wherever Grandmother got her ideas, I do not know! I do love how Timothy and North take her down, verbally, in their own ways.
Oh yeah, Anthony sure did take them in. As servants with no wages and no security. What a jerk! As for Felicity . . . Geez, what. An. Idiot. I wanted to gag her and kick her down the stairs.
How is it worse for Millicent to wear breeches than for the four of them to be tossed out to beg on the streets?? Oh lordy, I had to laugh when Shoffer compliments Millicent on how she handled his accident . . . ahem, as compared to how he would have acted if he’d known Millicent was a woman, lolololol.
Millicent discovers the joys of being a man in this . . . and reminds we women of today just how lucky we are that women’s lib has made such progress.
Poor Elizabeth has been so terribly abused and confused by her grandmother (and Mrs Fleming!!) that she’s terrible in society, and it will take “Mr North’s” tomfoolery to bring her out of her shyness. That’s not the only abuse, well, besides Anthony’s of his family! Wait’ll you read Anthony’s father’s letter! Realistic perhaps in his observations of his son, but how rude.
Carter makes full use of the difference in their social levels to note how differently Timothy and “Mr North” are treated. There’s also Mrs Fleming and Grandmother’s perspectives on the “lower levels” . . . oy.
Carter uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from “Mr North’s” and the duke’s perspectives. And it’s quite interesting to learn of Timothy’s jealousy of Mr North’s influence on Lady Beth even as we learn of “Mr North” storing up the blessings of being a man. And they’re not all that you might expect!
It cracks me up how Mr North influences the rest of society with his silly stories and observations. With Timothy enjoying the posturing and pretensions of his society through North’s eyes. Until Timothy learns of the bets being placed against North. A dig at North’s reputation that cannot be proved or disproved but will impact Lady Beth’s acceptance by society as well as North’s sisters.
This trip is a lovely opportunity for Timothy to get to know his sister. Thank god. For Timothy also learns what a nasty woman their grandmother is.
Okay, so yes, this story is good for both a laugh and a reminder that one should always leave a will!
Poor Lady Beth turns shy and mute at parties, and His Grace requests that Mr North help her turn conversation.
It doesn’t turn out that well. At least not for Mr North, as Lady Beth fixates on him, much to Millicent’s dismay.
Millicent Boarder, a.k.a. Helene Winthrop, is the oldest and least lovely of the three sisters. She’s also the most practical. Mildred and the eighteen-year-old Maude are the younger, more lovely sisters. Felicity is their widowed mother whom I’d like to gag!
Timothy Shoffer is the Duke of Trolenfield with his principal estates in Somerset. Ikelsby is his valet. Lady Elizabeth Shoffer is Timothy’s sister with the fraudulent Mrs Fleming as her chaperone. Sally is Beth’s maid. Lily is another maid Beth likes. Lady Philomena Shoffer, the Dowager Duchess of Trolenfield, a.k.a. Grand’Mere or Grandmother, is a nightmare. Edgar Simpson is the duke’s man of business with the Earl of Edgeware his second cousin. Forsythe is the butler at Somerset. James is a footman. Forsythe senior is the London butler. John is another London servant. Wesley Square is the location of the house where Timothy sets up this season’s mistress. Mrs Fosters is the housekeeper at Wesley Square.
Merit is the Boarders’ temporary butler. Lady Englethorpes, the widow of Sir Edmund, is having a ball. Lady Edith is her spinster daughter with a fascination for sparkly things, who will act as Lady Beth’s chaperone. The Harringtons had a party. The Forthingtons put on a musical evening. Nigel Wentworth, the second son of the Earl of Brigham, the Hon. Mr Michael Offen, and the Hon. Mr Joseph Martindale were all at Cambridge together. The Misses Mary and Joy are danced with. Lady Holudin is one of his grandmother’s friends. Beau Brummel is still about. Lady Sally, the Countess of Jersey, is a patroness of Almack’s and quite influential. Countess Fenton, Lady Johnson-Fife, Lady Peling, and the Hon Mrs Edward Pike are all eager for Mr North’s attendance. The Earl of Decrent has a second son, Wentworth, who informed Maude of his needs. Lady Algrieve puts on a Venetian Masque where one can find mistresses. Countess Greylin has her importance.
The Duc of Attelweir is a poor roué with the most horrible reputation to whom Grand’Mere wants to marry Lady Beth. His cronies include Mickleton and Benson who are the Earl of Wallingford and the Earl of Trentonlie (and I’m not sure in what order) and De Clerk is the Comte of Le Forhend.
Mr Nestor is the duke’s tailor. Mr Johansen is a lawyer for Perceval North. Mademoiselle Therese is a soprano. Mrs Harvey runs a brothel in London and has useful connections.
Mrs Hall is the Boarders’ housekeeper. For her, er, his carriage, Millicent employs Rogers for the lead outrider as well as Jacob, Ben, and Mark. Lady Whenthistle is the widow of Sir Richard.
Anthony North is the miserly second cousin who “took in” his cousins when their father died. The even worse Perceval North is Anthony’s brother. Christopher North had been their nasty father. Mr Abram is the vicar.
Mr North’s business interests
Mr Prichart rents a large farm in Wales, near Merthyr Tydfil. His wife is a drama queen. I do love how Millicent deals with the woman. I wanted to jump up and clap! They have two daughters of marriageable age: Eilowen and Gwyneth. Jacob Fields is the proprietor for the Hind and Fox.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a pale background of cream buildings fronted by a pale gray cobblestone street. At the forefront are a threesome: a blond gentleman in navy frock coat, cream waistcoat, and yellow pantaloons with a pale brown hat in his right hand, as his left arm is crooked for the lady walking proudly by his side. She’s wearing a poke bonnet over her dark hair and a lilac empire dress with a navy shawl. Standing to her right and slightly behind is another gentleman with a black top hat atop his dark brown hair, wearing a red frock coat with buff pantaloons and a pink cravat. He’s in a three-quarter profile to us, holding a cane up to his lips while the lady’s left hand rests atop his right arm. I think it’s the duke, Millicent, and Mr North . . .
The title is at the top in a ridiculous script font in black. The author’s name uses the same script in black and crosses the threesome’s knees. Below this where their legs and gown disappear is a testimonial in black.
The title is too accurate for the situations and the story is too Ridiculous!.