Long, Julie Anne. Lady Derring Takes a Lover. New York: Avon Books, 2019.
eBook | $5.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062867476 | 384 pages | Regency Romance
I had mixed experiences with Julie Anne Long’s previous work, really enjoying one of the middle books in the Pennyroyal Green series when I first got into romance but not feeling compelled to continue, then being put off entirely by the early books. With Lady Derring Takes a Lover, Long appears to have mastered her craft since those earlier books, as while there is a lot of setup, it’s balanced well with a much more engaging love story.
In terms of that setup, I really enjoyed the friendship between Delilah and Angelique. They begin the book as the widow and former mistress, respectively, of the same man, and while it could have led to animosity, I enjoyed seeing them bond over the poor circumstances Lord Derring left them in. I feel like female friendships aren’t given as much emphasis as male ones in romance, and to have it come from a situation like this is so refreshing.
While the romance takes its time to start, once it does, it’s swoonworthy. I loved seeing Delilah discovering pleasure for the first time, as well as what it means to be cared for. And Tristan, who is usually more contained, is attracted to her almost immediately, allowing him to let his guard down.
The one major plot point I found a little out of place was the mystery. It presents an opportunity for Tristan and Delilah to make contact, as it centers on Lord Derring, but other than that, it feels rather underwhelming. However, I did enjoy how it provided context to the work Tristan does.
This is a great start to a new series from a well-loved author who I’m hoping to give more of a chance going forward. I recommend this to those looking for more historical romances that prominently feature female friendships, especially between unlikely people.