Courting Constance
Teryl Cartwright
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Buy *Courting Constance* by Teryl Cartwright online

Courting Constance
Teryl Cartwright
Vintage Romance Publishing
282 pages
July 2010
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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I really wanted to like Courting Constance. Firstly, the cover image of the heroine has her with almost exactly the same hair as me, which is cool. Secondly, the author sent me a copy to review and put a lovely card with it, plus signed the book. These are two good things (at least one of them is, if you have hair like me), but sadly not enough to make me like this book once I’d read it.

This historical romance set in the Regency period in the city of Bath starts with a highwayman holding up a carriage in which our heroine is travelling - and the highwayman happens to be her former fiancé (not that she realizes). A good start, but unfortunately from here onward the book goes downhill.

The heroine, Constance, seems a bit erratic in her behavior. I couldn’t decide whether I liked her or not - I think, by the end, not. Her best friend, Harriet (‘Harry’), goes from being virtually mute to being... not so mute. The fiancé, Sir Geoffrey Thornhill (often referred to in the book erroneously as ‘Sir Thornhill’; he would be ‘Sir Geoffrey’), seems a strangely indistinct character. I knew very little about him by the end of the book, except that he and Constance probably deserved each other.

The middle act seems to be about Constance trying to court Geoffrey with supposedly comedic results. I didn’t find these scenes funny, just weird - almost slapstick in nature. Constance then seems to suddenly, without any apparent reason, give up completely, and the action has to shift to Geoffrey - who continues as impenetrable as ever.

The book touches on the ‘inspirational’ genre with various religious thoughts, but these aren’t over-strong so fit reasonably. The end of the story echoes Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, but in a rather half-hearted manner.

The author has probably tried to make the book seem authentic, but this English reader came across a great many Americanisms while reading, which disturbed the flow of the story.

I did like the author's occasional well-formed turn of phrase. Sadly, most of the story is dull with unconvincing characters who I didn’t really care for.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Helen Hancox, 2011

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