Love Birds of Regent's Park by Ruth J. Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like other regency romances by Ruth J. Hartman, Love Birds of Regent's park proved to be a sweet romance full of mirth and heart-tugging challenges. It began with pair of love birds who met in Regent's Park, but love wasn't an easy flight for this couple.
Young Lucy Ashbrook is an eligible young woman who dearly loves the bird sanctuary at Regent's Park. Nothing gives her more pleasure than sitting along the well-manicured paths, sketching the feathered residents. Nothing, that is, but a sanctuary worker named Oliver Barrow whom she meets there on one fateful morning.
Oliver Barrow is a man of two worlds--one he wants nothing to do with and the life he prefers, working in the natural tranquility of the bird sanctuary. And that world brightens on the day he meets Miss Ashbrook as she sketches birds. Cue a bashful introduction and a hilarious goose chase/hat rescue, and you know these two are birds of the same feather.
As the story progressed, I grew to empathize with both Oliver and Lucy. In Regency Era London, a simple hook-up and go-steady relationship was unheard of. Marriages were political partnerships involving not just a couple, but entire families. Such is the case with these two. The conflict is further complicated by Oliver's dying father, Lucy's blackmailed father, and the sleazy Conrad Croome, who wants Lucy for a proper bride.
That's where the weak point came in for me, however. The conflict never quite reached the point of an unforgettable climax. All in all, it proved fairly predictable, though it had room for greater twists and surprises. With a little expansion, I think it could have well achieved that.
Overall, the writing itself was lighthearted and smooth. The older supporting characters, Lucy's maid Anna and the sanctuary caretaker Richard, served as sweet mentors to the lead couple. Their romance provided a nice "aw" effect throughout. The setting and cast was vivid and compact enough to provide an enjoyable, leisurely read. I'd recommend Love Birds of Regent's Park to any sweet romance fans, particularly those who love Regency.
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