Genre: Regency Romance
Regist, Viscount Collingsworth, is cousin and best friend to Lady Stephana Monroe. One night at White's he overhears Lord Willernott laying odds that he can woo and win the widow within three months. Attempting to stop the wager, Regist is mistaken in that everyone believes he wishes to rival Lord Willernott in pursuing her, and since he cannot think of any way to explain himself, he reluctantly joins in the wager.
Lady Monroe is called the "Wild Goose Widow," among other names, because she has determined never to marry again and refused to see any man more than three times. Yet she is still pursued because she is very beautiful and has a comfortable living.
I decided to read this book because after the recent loss of my cat, I didn't want to read anything that would make me think, and just something light; and many Regencies are light, if enjoyable, readings. However, I was surprised by this book because it has a different premise than many of the Regencies I usually read.
The hero, Regist, is not tall, dark nor handsome. He is near the same height as Stephana, and has auburn hair; although he is strongly built, he is never described as athletic. The 'villain' as it were, is Lord Willernott (and I am not giving anything away here, since by the wager he places he has already revealed himself to be the villain; and every good Regency must have one). He is the tall, dark, and handsome person who is usually the hero. Indeed, he never has a hair out of place, wears his clothes impeccably; and everything he says or does is held in esteem by others, even though they know of his imperfections (which are made clear to the reader at various points throughout the book). Yet he has decided, through his wager at White's, that he will marry the widow.
Regist, on the other hand, grew up with Stephana and has loved her for many years. However, he was left nearly destitute upon his father's death, and being the eldest son must now care for his mother, sister, and two ungrateful larger, younger brothers. Only recently has Regist begun to repair his finances, but he believes he cannot offer for Stephana because of his limited means. Yet after he sees Willernott actively pursuing the widow, he changes his mind and decides that he will try to win her himself.
I can tell you that the author writes her characters well. I truly liked Regist and felt for him. And I certainly did not like Lord Willernott at all. In fact, as the story progressed, I began to dislike him immensely. I could not even see what Stephana saw in him save the fact that he was tall, handsome, and rich, which would appeal to any woman of that time. He appeared to me as a cold character who was interested only in what he wanted without a thought to anyone else - and if this is what Ms. DesJardien attempted, she certainly succeeded.
The book was a delightful, if short read, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Regencies.