Becoming Lady Dalton*

Potentially Interesting Novel Marred by Errors and Inanity

The last couple of years of Viola’s life, the heroine, have been a mad swirl of changing circumstances. Widowed after having been married for around 15 years, she finds herself nearly destitute, coming back to her extended family with an eight-year-old son and her sister. Soon, the sister is courted and wed by an earl. Living with her grandmother and her younger sister no longer her responsibility, Viola is now in much better circumstances, at least in terms of connections and having a roof over her head. She decides to come to town to enjoy the season. In the first scene, she happens to meet a man she knew previously at a modiste’s establishment. They banter for a bit as his young daughter is getting her clothes. Viola is, and has been, attracted to him since their earlier meeting the previous fall, but she knows she is not a good prospect for the widower as she was a farmer’s wife and is four years older than him; she also has concerns about her ability to have another child, and he still needs an heir. However, in the first chapter narrated by him, he reveals that he feels an attraction to her and actually sees her as an ideal wife. He intends to convince her to marry him.

The book had some unusual problems. I doubt the book was copyedited because there was a fair amount of repetition in the description of Viola’s background in two places relatively close to each other. There seems to be some confusion about the names of places as well; where she is from is given two different names, and one of them is misspelled. The language of both the exposition and dialogue felt stiff and stilted at times but was in other places too casual for this kind of historical romance. Some situations and ideas presented did not ring true to Regency fiction. There was even one rather bizarre phrase that was a mishmash of cliches. Ever heard of an inexperienced person describe themselves as “green-behind-the-ears”? Please, if you’re ever green behind the ears … see a doctor!