Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Charlene Reviews: The House on Becket Lane by Elizabeth Chanter

ISBN #: 978-1462036028
Page Count: 308
Copyright: August 22, 2011
Publisher: iUniverse

(Taken from back cover)

Lord Dashell Lonsdale is considered one of the most eligible bachelors in London, but few - even Lord Lonsdale himself - know that despite appearances, his family fortune is not as secure as he believes. When a chance encounter with an unknown lady on the street shakes his seemingly stable world, the young lord has no idea how to react. She collapses at his feet, a frightened child in her arms. She is whisked away before he can even learn her name.

She is Caroline, the younger of two daughters of a family that carries a burden of secrets as well. All they know is that their mother's tongue is silenced not by pride but by fear - and she took her secret to her grave. Now Caroline lives in a house with only her stepfather to guide her.

Lord Lonsdale exploits his station to learn of her identity and where she lives. His arrival triggers an angry quarrel between Caroline and her stepfather. Horrified to have caused such tension within her family, he departs with the promise to return the next day.

But duty calls him away before he can keep his promise. He learns that, thanks to the gambling debts of his brother, his family is on the brink of financial ruin. He has no choice but to turn his attention to salvaging the family's fortunes and honor. Now Caroline has her own secret to share - and what she must tell him may end their love before it can begin.

Charlene's Review:

The House on Becket Lane is described as a 19th century classic romance. Set in London, Ms. Chanter captures the time period and setting with eloquence. When Lord Dashell Lonsdale literally runs into Caroline on the street, it sets into motion a romance that will change both of their loves forever. As Lord Lonsdale seeks to court Caroline, the mystery surrounding her past, and her very unpleasant stepfather, lead him to believe it may not ever come to pass. While he is called away on family matters, the threats in Caroline's life escalate, and he must make the choice to find the answers they both seek in order to protect the woman he loves.

I cannot express how much I enjoyed reading this story. I rarely read romance or even period novels, as they tend to bore me, but I can assure you, The House on Becket Lane kept me riveted to the end. While it is most definitely a romance, there is so much more going on in this story. There is the pull to the simpler, slower pace of the time period, and the conventional rules that applied to proper behavior which is sorely lacking in today's world. I especially enjoyed the dialogue of the time, with words like "agog" and the Cockney dialect of Johnny.

Family secrets are the theme throughout the book, and the villain, in the form of Caroline's stepfather, Thomas Wardlock, brings the element of suspense and danger. The story is written so beautifully that the characters came to life for me, and I could picture Dashell's handsome face as well as Wardlock's foreboding scowl. This book could definitely be a contender for "best of" in classic novels. I lost myself to this story and was so disappointed when it ended. I do hope Ms. Chanter hurries the promised sequel along, as I will be watching and anxiously awaiting the further adventures of Dashell and Caroline.

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