Fighting Napoleon’s army is peanuts compared to the consequences of stealing a kiss from a pretty little maid as Christopher (Kit) Wilde, the new eighth Earl of Bourne, soon finds out. All his hopes of indulging his bachelor freedom with reckless carousing and painting London red vanish in an instant when he discovers that the maid he kissed is actually Miss Jane Maitland, the highly respectable daughter of the local Baronet. Compelled by his honor and subtly blackmailed by her father, Kit proposes to Jane (Jennie) and they’re soon married.
A highly intelligent and forthright young lady, Jennie is disappointed but resigned to her marriage with Kit. His kisses excite her but his boorish manner and open flirtation with other ladies does not endear him to his new child-bride. Jennie has “always prided herself on her ability to settle people into niches she personally carved out for them, deriving satisfaction by aiding her fellow human beings”. In other words, she was a master meddler, trying to match people with, what she felt was, the right profession/relationship. In her own inimitable style, Jennie soon sets about hiring some unique staff for their London mansion. Things come to a boil when her madcap, tomboyish cousin Lucy takes Jennie under her wing and their combined antics in London society begin to give Kit sleepless nights. Then danger makes a stealthy entrance, and the action leads to a joyous and rousing ending which is a delight to read.
Kasey Michaels has a wonderful tongue-in-the-cheek style of writing that is highly amusing and delightful. The familiar theme of falling-in-love-after-marriage is nothing special, but Michael’s adroit treatment of it certainly is. The unique character cast is a bonus, especially Jennie’s unique servants, and their frolics and capers liven up an oft-told romance story. Sharp and witty dialogue, the characters’ zany sense of humor, the madcap situations, all together make The Beleaguered Lord Bourne of the most sweet and jaunty recent little Regency tales.