The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane, by Elizabeth Boyle

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane: Rhymes With Love
By: Elizabeth Boyle
Published date: October 28, 2014

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
How hot is it: Very PG-13.
Hero: Pierson Stratton, Viscount Wakefield
Heroine: Miss Louisa Tempest

It’s been a bit since I’ve read a historical, and I’m not sure why because every time I read one I enjoy it. Elizabeth Boyle is a mainstay among romance authors, and with good reason. Her novels are a breeze to read, and at times, charming and sweet.

I think since the show House became popular, heroes with limps and canes have been popping up in historicals with increasing frequency, which I’m totally fine with, of course. Eloisa James does it in When Beauty Tamed the Beast (incidentally, the hero in that book is named Piers, pretty close to Pierson) and Julia Quinn did it in her last novel, The Sum of all Kisses. So anyway, this is Boyle’s take on it.

Pierson went to war, and his best friend died saving him. He returns to London and basically barricades himself in his house with only an aging butler and a thief for a cook for what seemed like it could have been a couple of years. He’s crippled and feels sorry for himself because he can no longer ride or get into a carriage, etc., so he’s closed himself off from everyone, including his family of mother and sisters. Enter Louisa Tempest who, conveniently, has a temperamental mangy sounding cat who, within minutes of their arrival to London from the no-marriage-cursed village of Kempton, escapes into the Viscount’s house and Louisa ends up seeing the Viscount in his wrapper. As an aside, I Googled Regency wrappers for men, and came up with nothing. I guess that it’s probably a robe, but some more detail would be nice. Anyway, so that meeting is pretty inauspicious, I guess, but seeing a man’s bare legs apparently cuts out the need for small talk, which I appreciate.

Their romance is cute and sweet, and through it I came to really like Louisa. She was industrious without being annoying, and funny at times without being in your face about it. She could have been more exciting and a bit more multi-dimensional, but she was likable nonetheless. Pierson was at turns sigh-worthy and tiresome. His struggle to get his life back was poignant and heart-tugging. He kind of refuses to be happy because he doesn’t deserve it, as I think most people would feel, and I think Boyle does a good job here with making us see how isolated he’s become and really just how out of touch he is.The typical dance of not wanting to fall in love with a girl, and eventually doing it played itself out as it does without a whole lot of anything new or interesting. It’s just falling in love people, it’s like supposedly the best thing ever, can just someone ever be excited to be doing it?? Sheesh!

However, the story lacked a real sense of urgency and the situations were just so contrived and silly. Like sort of out of nowhere Louisa insists that Pierson’s first venture out of the house should be to go with her to Almack’s, and if he doesn’t it’s this big, significant thing and his feelings for her aren’t worth a dime. Well, I mean, come on, the man hasn’t been out of the house in like over a year or something ridiculous, could you maybe cut him a break and go to the bookstore together or something? Go to the park and get some ices? I mean, jeez. And then the climax of the book, when they finally admit they love each other is this weird set-up by her uncle, and then they end up having sex in the library. The library? The library, really? The girl’s a virgin, dude, you have an entire house, don’t have sex in the library. I’m thinking now it might have been a study, but same difference. Anyway, the big moments didn’t feel big.

However, this is not to say that I didn’t like the book, because I totally did! I liked it bunches! Several times while reading I kept thinking to myself, why haven’t I read more Elizabeth Boyle, because she’s just a lovely writer, and this was a lovely book. There are only a couple of Regency authors worth reading right now, and she’s definitely one of them, so pick this one up today!

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