Monday, March 22, 2010

How To Tame A Modern Rogue - Diana Holquist

How To Tame A Modern Rogue
Diana Holquist

Contemporary Romance

Ally Giordano is changing her life. She’s leaving New York City for San Francisco, where she’s already lined up her dream job, teaching English in a great high school. She’s sad to leave her grandmother, Granny Donny, but the woman is wealthy and spry and can hop on a plane to come for a visit any time she likes. She’ll miss her roommate, June, but June’s boyfriend is moving in to take Ally’s place, so everyone is happy.

Until Granny Donny pays a visit one evening, dressed like an extra from a Jane Austen movie, talking to Ally as if she’s sixteen and must marry a dashing duke. To Ally’s horror, she’s brought said ‘duke’ with her. And there’s a horse and carriage waiting outside on the street. The duke, Sam Carson (who calls himself Duke Whatthehell) met Granny Donny (he calls her Lady Donatella) on her way over and, in order to avoid an angry woman staking out his lobby, decided to go along for the ride. Granny Donny natters on about a trip to the country now that “the season” is over and how she’s sure Ally and “the duke” will fall in love there and marry. June recognizes this plot. It’s from a regency-period romance, The Dulcet Duke, a favorite of both hers and Granny Donny’s.

Ally has not read the book and is not amused by any of this. The following day, she takes her grandmother on a round of visits to doctors who diagnose some type of dementia, possibly temporary, possibly brought on by a mild stroke. In other words, they’re not sure. Granny Donny insists on the trip to “the country,” which Ally takes to mean a beach house in Long Island. If this is what her beloved grandmother wants, Ally is determined to make it happen for her. Even if it means taking several days to ride through Brooklyn and points beyond in an open carriage like a lunatic. Granny Donny also insists that “the duke” must accompany them. To his own surprise, Sam agrees. After all, what kind of duke would allow to unescorted ladies to ride through iffy neighborhoods in an open carriage?

This is a cute romance, and I mean that in the best way. It would have been easy for the story to become too twee and precious and sugary, but the goings-on are leavened by Ally’s very real distress at losing her grandmother – her only relative, since her parents took off without a word to avoid debts ten years ago – to dementia. Sam has his own history, and while he’s currently a wealthy playboy, he has some baggage that makes him much more interesting. Each chapter begins with an appropriate passage from The Dulcet Duke, and it’s fun to watch the modern characters play out close approximations of a regency romance. It’s a wonderful device for a contemporary romance and works perfectly.

Rating: 7 ½
August 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-19705-2 (paperback)


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