Lovers and Ladies: Deirdre and Don Juan

Jo Beverley
2008 reissue of 1993 release, Regency Romance
NAL, $14.00, 448 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451223365
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Subtle

This is two-in-one of early Jo Beverley trad Regencies (1991 and 1993) with a similar theme: finding love where one least expects it. The individual stories are also somewhat connected; the main characters from The Fortune Hunter make a brief appearance in Deirdre and Don Juan.

The RITA-award winning Deirdre and Don Juan is a sweet read.

When he was twenty years old, the Earl of Everdon - nicknamed “Don Juan” for his rakishness and his exotic looks - married for love. Shortly after, his beautiful wife left him for another man and shattered his dreams of true love and happiness. Now, ten years later, he has just received word that his wife is dead. Terrified of being an available and highly desirable man in the Marriage Mart, he sets off to marry the first sensible, boring woman he can lay eyes on. That way, he thinks, he can kill two birds with one stone by avoiding being targeted and protecting his heart from possibilities of love. He picks Lady Deirdre Stowe as his lucky lady, his mother’s young friend and a social wallflower. However, Deirdre is already secretly betrothed, which makes Everdon only more determined to win her over.

Everdon is a great character, funny and understandably wary of getting too involved with a woman. The reader isn’t given too much information as to what makes Deirdre so alluring to Everdon, but his reaction to her is oh-so satisfying. As for Deirdre herself, it annoyed me that she protested Everdon's attentions as much as she did, particularly as it becomes obvious that her fiancé is a ridiculous choice. She also has a few self-esteem problems that linger throughout the book, even though it is reiterated how wonderful she is. Deirdre’s fiancé Howard is an over-the-top character who goes around giving her “stinging slaps,” just to make sure the reader knows that there is no way he will end up with Deirdre.

Even with those flaws, Deirdre and Don Juan was a fun, quick read that put a smile on my face. Those who interested in tracking the evolution of an author will be interested in how much Beverley's writing abilities (especially her characterizations) have grown over the years.

-- Emma Leigh

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