In Noble’s insipid third Winner Takes All Regency romance (after The Lie and the Lady), Rhys Gray and Margaret Babcock start out as correspondents discussing academic topics and become friends bonding over common intellectual interests. When Margaret accepts an invitation from Rhys to visit London, love is inevitable, but the bland courtship is riddled with clichés. Margaret, smart but awkward in polite society, and Rhys, saddled with an inconvenient engagement arranged by his mother, embody familiar romance fare. The letters are entertaining and show how well the hero and heroine get along, but once they stop writing, their interactions are wooden and unimaginative. The obstacles keeping Rhys and Margaret apart are so contrived and flimsy that it’s a relief when Rhys finally stops pouting and ends the plodding drama. The supporting cast—their friends and family—show some potential, but they are not fully developed and primarily act as cardboard props on the sidelines. Noble clearly did considerable research into botany and medicine; that time could have been better spent on plot, pacing, and character development. There’s promise, but this romance fails to deliver. Agent: Annelise Roby, Jane Rotrosen. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2016 Release date: 11/22/2016 Genre: Fiction
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