Dickerson, Melanie. A Viscount’s Proposal. Grand Haven, MI: Waterfall Press, 2017.
Paperback | $12.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1503938649 | 279 pages | Christian Fiction/Regency Romance
Despite liking most of Melanie Dickerson’s books, I had mixed feelings when she launched her Regency series. On the one hand, I was excited, there are only a handful of Christian authors who write Regencies. But I found myself overcome with an unfortunate sense of snobbery when she promoted book one, A Spy’s Devotion, by talking about how she had read Jane Austen, but wanted to write something more approachable to modern readers. I’m just paraphrasing, but this statement and the blandness of the prose of that one led me to DNF that one after one chapter…and subsequently lose track of the book. But as is often the case these days, a book club friend reading these had me considering giving the series another chance.
And I am very glad I did. It is not lost on me that while I had intense (and perhaps unwarranted) prejudice against the first book due to first impressions, that this one ironically grapples with that issue in an incredibly Austen-esque way, along with her criticism of the hypocrisy of high society. I found Edward and Leorah sympathetic and enjoyed watching their relationship with each other evolve from dislike and misunderstanding to compassion and love. A pivotal scene for me was the scene in which they discussed Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, with Leorah seeing it as merely an entertaining story, and Edward as a story with a good message that people can learn from. This reminded me of the discussions that book clubs have today, with different readers each taking something different from the same text, while each enjoying it.
In terms of the mystery, it was obvious who was behind it pretty early on, but I was quite shocked when the motive was revealed. This brought up a very important thing to consider, whether one is religious or not, in terms of whether one ought to cast blame for someone’s actions on their family members, who are completely innocent of wrongdoing.