Silk and Scholar by Cassandra Dean
This is Book 4 in the Silk series, but stands perfectly well alone. And it is an absolute delight.
Etta Wilding-Marsh is a very unconventional young lady indeed. The daughter of a Cambridge don, she longs to study the law, an utter impossibility for a woman in the Regency era. She has only disdain for the irresponsible young men who take for granted that which she may never have, and her particular ire is reserved for Lord Christopher Hiddleston.
The lord never failed to accept an opportunity to rile her when they clashed during his studies, and the book opens with a hilarious exchange of correspondence where Christopher continually sends Etta newspaper clippings regarding his successes in first law and then his transition to being a well-paid author of wildly popular Gothic novels. Etta’s irate responses to the newsletter clipping were absolutely hysterical and I found myself laughing out loud any number of times.
When the book finally transitions into a narrative, Etta and Christopher meet again after a separation of quite a few years, and immediately Etta is on the defensive, convinced Christopher wishes only to amuse himself at her expense. She is, however, very wrong about that, though it takes her a while to discover it. Christopher also has some discoveries to make, most notably just how badly Etta has been neglected by her family and her very justifiable resentment at her exclusion from her chosen profession just because of her gender.
I absolutely loved Silk And Scholar. By turns funny and poignant, it had two delightful protagonists who were perfectly suited to each other, even though it took them a while to realise it. I cannot say the book was perfect because it did have quite a few errors – ‘I will track you done’ instead of ‘down’ was an early one that caught my eye – and anachronisms ‘he drove her absolutely mental’ was not something an early 19th century lady would have said. However, these could easily be caught by a competent editor and they certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story. I’m happy to give Silk And Scholar five stars.
Guest review contributed by Caitlyn Lynch. Want an honest reviewer? You’ve got it. Caitlyn tells it like it is in her book reviews.