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Hilarious, full of quick banter, and great comic secondary characters. I just spent the most perfect evening with this book in hand and symphonic West Side Story on the stereo Complete bliss.If you like clever and witty regency novels not bodice rippers, like Georgette Heyer regencies then you will adore this one I did. The Historical prompt for the TBR Challenge is a bit of a Busman s Holiday for yours truly, but even so, I still enjoy going through my books to find something I haven t read yet This time round, I settled on a traditional Regency from 1978, Joan Smith s Imprudent Lady Many authors have had books likened to those of Georgette Heyer, and while that is a comparison that s always going to draw my eye, I ve been disappointed on many an occasion Not so here Imprudent Lady is an utterly delightful rake meets bluestocking story full to the brim with sparkling dialogue, beautifully observed wit and deftly drawn characters that has at its centre a warm, charming romance between a rakish, Byronic poet and an authoress with a talent for writing sharply observed characters and situations.Miss Prudence Mallow and her mother have been left in reduced circumstances and have gone to live with Mrs Mallow s brother, Mr Clarence Elmtree, an amateur artist with a hugely inflated idea of the extent of his skill In order to earn a little money, Prudence does some work as a copyist for publisher, Mr John Murray, and in the course of her work starts penning stories of her own Murray is impressed with her writing style and her strong observational skill and humour, and undertakes to publish The Composition , even though it is not in the current vogue for exciting romantic adventures la Walter Scott.The book sells steadily, and Prudence is soon at work on a second novel, and then a third Her work is well regarded and she finds herself coming into contact with some of her favourite authors, such as Fanny Burney, but does not make much of an impression on them.The literary world and English society is set abuzz is the return to England of Lord Dammler, whose Cantos from Abroad, thinly disguised tales full of over blown action, adventure and romance of his three years travelling the world have become an instant success The handsome, aristocratic Dammler is society s golden boy, although he quickly finds that being constantly in the spotlight and the subject of endless sycophancy is not all it s cracked up to be.Along with the rest of society, Prudence has been enthralled by Dammler s tales of derring do, and is bowled over by his dark good looks Enthused by a brief meeting, she is moved to send Dammler an autographed copy of The Composition and is hurt when she discovers he passed it on to his aunt without reading it In a fit of pique, she dismisses Dammler s writing as nothing but a totally incredible novel in rhyme Learning of this, Dammler takes up Prudence s novel and is surprised to find it engaging and witty When the two meet again, he is immediately intrigued by Prudence s no nonsense manner and the fact that she doesn t simper and flirt like every other woman he meets Because her clothes are drab and she sports the sort of lace cap usually worn by older ladies, he at first takes her to be older than her twenty four years and fails to mind his tongue, talking quite freely to Prudence about matters that are considered too warm for the ears of a younger lady But Prudence doesn t really mind in fact, Dammler s discourse, while it might shock her at times, is eye opening for her in many ways, and they strike up a friendship based on professional affinity they re both writers, they have the same publisher and he begins to introduce her to people of influence and to advance her career.The romance between this unlikely couple is very well done, with the bulk of the story focusing on Dammler s gradual transition from rakehell to a man deeply in love.He admired and respected Miss Mallow s books and brains initially, then he began to like her dry wit, her understatement, her way of not pretending to be impressed with his past and present affairs, which he coloured bright, to shock her.When she wore her new bonnets, he thought she was rather sweet looking, in an old fashioned way They talked and laughed together for hours If anyone had told him they were well suited, he would have been shocked.Dammler is all one could want in a romantic hero handsome, clever, confident, but self aware enough not to take himself too seriously Yet for most of the book, he has no idea that what he is feeling for Prudence IS love, although the reader sees the progression from professional interest to friendship to love through some of the wittiest banter I ve read in a long time And while Prudence is aware of the nature of her feelings, she believes the fact that Dammler talks so openly to her means that he sees her as another male friend, or just as bad a sister I didn t go out at all last night Stayed home and got the second act written in rough This was the second time he had mentioned in a seemingly casual fashion the innocent nature of his nights, and Prudence decided to chide him about it I wasn t hellraking last night, either, but I hadn t meant to brag to you about it Oh, what a heartless wench she is You complained loud enough when I was out carousing Won t you say a kind word on my improvement I did not complain Don t cast me in the role of guardian of your morals Well, I hoped to please you by improving No one else ever was kind enough to worry about me, or care whether I ran to perdition What a plumper Your mama cried for two hours when you got drunk But she s been dead for ten years I started drinking young And my father has been dead for fifteen years Just a poor orphan waif, really Couldn t you pat my head and bless me, or must I lie on the floor and hold my breath to excite any interest Indeed it is not necessary to choke yourself Good boy, she reached out and patted his head, and felt sorry for him in spite of his shameless bid for pity.There are, of course, a couple of hiccups along the way in the form of some unsuitable suitors, one of whom is a particularly odious misogynist The final section, which takes place in Bath, lacks some of the earlier sparkle, but by that time, I was so firmly rooting for Dammler and Prudence to resolve their differences that I didn t really mind.Imprudent Lady is the perfect pick me up read quick, funny and clever, with a nicely done romance and some great secondary characters, not least of which is Prudence s uncle Clarence, the truly awful artist Somehow, Joan Smith keeps this running joke fresh, as Clarence expounds frequently upon various aspects of his art I think Lawrence could pick up a trick of two from me, but he is quite spoilt with attention I blushed for him, poor fellow, to see everyone praising such likenesses He had a wart on Lady Cassel s nose You d think anyone who calls himself an artist would have panted it out But his sensitivity is entirely lacking He can only paint a pretty picture if he has as pretty subject If you re in the mood for a light hearted, tender romance full of sharply observed witty banter, add Imprudent Lady to your TBR You won t regret it. I had never heard of Joan Smith, even though she has a bazillion romance titles on When one of my favorite reviewers who goes by the sobriquet Old Latin Teacher wrote that this book was the next best thing to a Georgette Heyer, I became curious.Well, Old Latin Teacher was right This is a charming, witty story of a rake and a bluestocking, with delightful characters and sparkling dialogue There s no sex, which I miss, but hey, I ve got an imagination And annoying Uncle Clarence a painter who doesn t realize that he has no talent is one of the most hilarious, original characters I ve encountered in a long time It s almost worth reading the book just for his scenes. Finished this with a sigh and a smile Such a great duo Prudence and Lord Dammler turned out to be I had my doubts about him at the beginning, but I was besotted by the end A library patron recommended this book to me when we were talking about our shared love of Regency romances, and it s a winner I loved the way Prudence and Dammler s relationship developed from that of colleagues to friendship to love One of my favorite lines from Dammler came in the last few pages What a damned fool I ve been all these months, Prue Why didn t you tell me I loved you The dialogue was quite funny, and Prudence s Uncle Clarence was comedy gold Smith s bio said she s an Austen fan, and I saw that influence the most in how she characterized Clarence I sort of wish I hadn t torn through this book so quickly, but I think I always feel that way about books I really enjoy Stopping and savoring is the last thing I want to do I guess that s what re reads are for. A nice read The hero and heroine gradually fell in love No rush, just steady and believable A simple story of two people getting to know each other Great secondary characters I m loving on uncle Clarence Clean read, but I missed at least a few kisses The hero was a rake after all I think a little unplanned kisses and touches would have made the story appealing I might contradict myself here but even though I don t mind reading clean romances I still wish they would have a little sexual chemistry at times The story just doesn t seem natural without some kind of physical interaction All in all though, Joan Smith is a good writer. Wellh m On the one hand, kudos to this author for creating a foamingly fluffy light Regency very much in the vein of Georgette Heyer, and an interesting eccentric in the character of Uncle Clarence, amateur very amateur painter Not to be confused with the Duke of Clarence, who also makes an appearance An amusing what if with two characters based on Lord Byron and Jane Austen, positing an almost credible love affair between a Lady and the dissolute poet Lord OK, I suspended my disbelief pretty willingly, I admit it On the other hand, perhaps a bit too much in the vein I know it was written in 1978, and I really can t rail against this particular author, since at least she does it with a lighter hand than some of those who follow, but I personally am ready to dispense with Almack s, the Patronesses of the same, the name dropping of every other historical character who appears in Regency Buck , and even gasp Bath as a setting Oh, and the cant Find some new Regency cant, please, or dispense with it altogether It s just so lazy, ripping off The Mistress this way Please, here s to ripping off Georgette Heyer in some new and exciting ways Also, what s with the oh, I m not a feminist crap that gets stuck into it when the heroine is confronted by a sexist old Man accent on the man of Letters Cheap Why insist on dragging in poor Mary Wollstonecraft just to crap down her neck So, really 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for light and bright and sparkling and a nice romantic pairing and because I m feeling generous. I enjoyed this immensely even with the weird left turn to Bath where everything became a little stupid The writing though is wonderful, much better than most of the regencies that are being produced today It was refreshing to read about a smart aleck couple, who bungle their own relationship without the help of anyone else Uncle Clarence was priceless, a true English eccentric. Delightfully witty traditional HRThere are echoes of all sorts of romances in this clever story, from Venetia to Persuasion Gowland s Lotion, anyone but the main characters are very much themselves a Byronic poet of a hero, and a little dab of an authoress turning out sharply observed novels The romance is very tenderly drawn indeed, Lord Dammler doesn t realise for most of the book that the pleasure he takes in Prudence Mallow s company is love We do, though we see the progression from a professional interest to friendship to love via some of the sharpest repartee I ve read in a long time At one point, Dammler is attempting to persuade Prudence that he has reformed his rakish waysI didn t go out at all last night This was the second time he had mentioned in a seemingly casual fashion the innocent nature of his nights, and Prudence decided to chide him about it I wasn t hellraking last night, either, but I hadn t meant to brag to you about it Oh, what a heartless wench she is You complained loud enough when I was out carousing I hoped to please you by improving No one else ever was kind enough to worry about me, or care whether I ran to perdition What a plumper Your mama cried for two hours when you got drunk But she s been dead for ten years I started drinking young And my father has been dead for fifteen years Just a poor orphan waif really Couldn t you pat my head and bless me, or must I lie on the floor and hold my breath to excite any interest Indeed it is not necessary to choke yourself Good boy, she reached out and patted his head, and felt sorry for him, in spite of his shameless bid for pity I ll buy you a sugar plum, and possibly an ice The plot itself is little than Dammler s enlightenment, helped along the way by a couple of unsuitable suitors for Prudence s affections, but the story is never less than engaging, because Joan Smith gives the characters their heads they bicker, discuss their writing, enjoy themselves and so we do too The other huge plus comes from a couple of the secondary characters Firstly, there s a Lady Catherine de Bourgh type dowager, the Countess of Cleff, known locally as the Pillar of Propriety, who comes to call on Miss Mallow in Bath The Pillar then began her catechism, to see whether or not she had erred in coming to visit persons in rented lodgings.But the star is the unique character of Prudence s uncle, Clarence Elmtree, an amateur artist It s such a refreshing change to read of an uncle who is neither miserly, lascivious, grasping nor power mad Hamlet s uncle Claudius has much to answer for Clarence is an amiable, mainly rational man except where his art is concernedI think I have gone da Vinci a step better He left off the eyelashes, you see When you take a look at the Mona Lisa I have a good engraving of it in my study you will see he forgot the eyelashes I don t know how he came to do it, for I read somewhere he was three years painting La Gioconda, but he certainly forgot the eyelashes I will put a nice long lash on Mrs Hering, and I shan t spend three years to do it either His painting is awful, of course, but Joan Smith presents what s effectively a single joke character with such apparent seriousness that the joke doesn t grow staleWater can t be painted either Turner thinks to hide his deficiency by always putting what he is painting upside down in the lake as a reflection, but he fools no one We are all on to him The story runs into a little manufactured conflict at the end, but overall it s such a sharp little romance that I honestly didn t mind. ^FREE PDF ☠ Imprudent Lady ↟ Prudence Mallow, Country Miss, Finds Herself In London As The Poor Relation Of Her Uncle Clarence, A True British Eccentric And Erstwhile Painter When She Discovers Her Calling As A Novelist, She Is Delighted To Develop A Friendship With Another Writer But Prudence Produces Modest, Sincere Novels, And Lord Dammler, Handsome Rake That He Is, Has Won Acclaim For His Scandalous Cantos From Abroad Drawn By The Rakish Marquis Into The Hotbed Of London Society, Prudence Finds Herself In Way Over Her Head And Heart