cover image Her Lady to Love

Her Lady to Love

Jane Walsh. Bold Strokes, $16.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-63555-809-8

Walsh debuts with a charming if flawed Regency romance. Miss Jacqueline Lockhart has been the toast of the past six London seasons and her parents are pressuring her to finally settle on a match—but Jacquie has no desire to marry, too heartbroken over the last in her string of female lovers. Lady Honora Banfield is attending her first London season, and though she’s husband-hunting as a matter of course, she too is uninterested in the men. When the pair literally collide at a ball, it sparks both attraction and a mutually beneficial friendship. Where Jacquie is all sparkling flirtation, wallflower Honora can’t help her stiff demeanor in social situations, so Jacquie agrees to help Honora attract suitors if Honora will help the title-less Jacquie mingle with the upper crust, thus appeasing her ambitious parents. But as Jacquie and Honora’s feelings grow, their priority becomes finding a way to be together as more than just a fling. Though Honora’s shift from shy curiosity to boldly stated interest feels a bit abrupt, her relationship with Jacquie is sweet, sensual, and believable. Subplots about a group of bluestockings and a society of LGBTQ Londoners add depth, though a trans side character is awkwardly handled and underdeveloped. The result is engaging but uneven. (Nov.)