Monday, September 22, 2014

Ravensdale by Lucinda Elliot

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Read: September 18, 2014

When the group of highwaymen headed by the disgraced Earl of Little Dean, Reynaud Ravensdale hold up the hoydenish Isabella Murray’s coach, she knocks one of them down and lectures them all on following Robin Hood’s example. The rascally Reynaud Ravensdale – otherwise known as the dashing highwayman Mr Fox – is fascinated by her spirit. He escaped abroad three years back following his supposedly shooting a friend dead after a quarrel. Rumour has it that his far more respectable cousin was involved. Now, having come back during his father’s last illness, the young Earl is seeking to clear his name. Isabella’s ambitious parents are eager to marry her off to Reynaud Ravensdale’s cousin, the next in line to his title. The totally unromantic Isabella is even ready to elope with her outlaw admirer to escape this fate – on condition that he teaches her how to be a highwaywoman herself. This hilarious spoof uses vivid characters and lively comedy to bring new life to a theme traditionally favoured by historical novelists – that of the wild young Earl, who, falsely accused of murder by the machinations of a conniving cousin and prejudged by his reputation, lives as an outlaw whilst seeking to clear his name.

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Lucinda Elliot came to my attention in 2012 when I read and reviewed That Scoundrel Emile Dubois. Two years on, the book stands out in my memory for its unique voice and original story which is why I jumped when chance afforded the opportunity to review Elliot's latest novel.

Ravensdale is loosely related to the earlier volume, but rest assured, these are two very different stories. A fun, romantic farce, Ravensdale is more parody than paranormal, but still retains the artistry and charm I associate with its creator. I don't think Reynaud and Isabella as compelling as Emile and Sophie, but the couple make an engaging pair nonetheless. His impetuous nature paired with her bold confidence create an unconventional chemistry that is enticingly pleasant and amusingly ironic.

A humorously offbeat affair, Ravensdale is anything but dull. A delightful volume that pokes playfully at the stereotypes and tropes of historic romance and brilliantly illustrates Elliot's creativity and range.

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No doubt she could lay a wager with Miss Amelia on who could thread so many needles in two minutes for a glass of cordial. That would need as much skill, but who would be impressed? She sulked in silence about how women were made boring by their upbringing. Then she wondered, as so often before, if she was mad, as nobody else seemed to think like this.
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Check Out All the Stops on Lucinda Elliot's Ravensdale Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 22
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, September 23
Interview at Layered Pages
Wednesday, September 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Saturday, September 27
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers
Sunday, September 28
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, September 29
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, September 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Devilishly Delicious Book Blog
Thursday, October 2
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Friday, October 3
Spotlight at SOS Aloha

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