Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Ashcroft is rather nervous about holding a private exhibition of her paintings – nerves that are little helped by outspoken and opinionated Aubrey Charles Beaumont, the 7th Viscount Sutton. Yet Ellie refuses to be intimidated, surprising both herself and Lord Sutton. Soon, they learn of another commonality: Ellie’s brother Richard and Lord Sutton’s closest friend James Graham are both in the 5th Regiment of Foot. With their nearest and dearest preparing to join the Peninsular War, Ellie and Lord Sutton begin to help each other understand what truly matters in their lives. LADY LAVENDER takes you back to the world of REGENCY LOVE in this new tale of family, friendship, and the many facets of love.
This book was everything I expected, and more that I didn’t know I wanted.
Please note that this book is a spin-off of Regency Love, a romance sim on iOS. It might be readable without knowledge of the game, but playing the game (if possible) adds so many layers.
In Marcus’s path in Regency Love, Ellie was just beginning to come into her own at the end of the game. It was enchanting to see her grow further, developing her art and her own inner strength beyond the shy, reserved girl she spent most of the game as. I rather liked who she became.
Sutton was a surprise. He never appeared in Marcus’s path, so seeing the intersection of James’s path with Marcus’s was fascinating. His personality seemed much in line with his in-game self, and I loved the line later in the story that described his situation in James’s path. He was stuffy in his role, but also sensitive and deeply loyal, and I fell in love with him all over again.
To be honest, when I found out the romance was between Sutton and Ellie, my first reaction was bafflement. They never interacted in either path and, if you didn’t pursue James’s path, Sutton never showed up at all. The way that they were brought together absolutely made sense, though, and their mutual regard and growing support was achingly sweet.
The supporting cast was full of favorites from Regency Love. Strangely, Kitty (who filled the role of the player character) was perhaps my least favorite–she was quite different from how I played her, and the juxtaposition was jarring. (It was unavoidable; however she was characterized, she wouldn’t jive with someone’s in-game interpretation.)
My favorites were, probably unsurprisingly, James and Richard. I would absolutely read a book just about them, and I was ridiculously excited that they found happiness.
So many Regency romances these days are far from chaste–which is fine, but sometimes you want an escape from smutty period pieces. This is definitely that. It’s kissed hands and linked arms rife with emotion, with much left unspoken but communicated with lingering glances and nods. It’s lovely and flowing, and the raciest thing is an inadvertently-exposed ankle.
I can’t confidently recommend this to someone who hasn’t played Regency Love–there’s just too much to miss the context of–but for everyone who has… read this. Read this now.
Did I mention that I’d read an entire book about James and Richard?