As a Regency romance, this one has an air of a coming-of-age story about it. Lady Olivia reminds me a good deal of Jane Austen’s Emma; young, beautiful, wealthy and maybe more than a little bit spoiled, she’s never been denied anything in the whole of her life… until Jem Ford. A friend of her brother’s brought to their home to recuperate after taking a serious injury at Waterloo, eighteen-year-old Olivia fell in love for the first time in her life. And promptly had her heart broken when the newly promoted Lieutenant Ford was posted to Australia.
Now, four years later, Jem is back, more handsome and more eligible than ever, and Olivia is still unmarried. She’s determined, this time, to ‘play things cool’, to be mature and sensible and not give herself away despite her renewed attraction to Jem. This time around, too, there’s another potential suitor on the scene for her in the form of George Manning, a very handsome newcomer to the neighbourhood who displays an immediate preference for Olivia’s company.
The story is told from both Olivia and Jem’s perspectives, so the reader is always aware of the true feelings of both of them, and it can get a bit frustrating at times when they constantly misunderstand each other. I wanted to smack their heads together and shout ‘just TALK to each other!’ more than once. External forces also come into play which may prevent Olivia and Jem getting their happy ending, but this being a romance, of course, all misunderstandings and obstacles are eventually cleared out of the way.
While I said Olivia reminds me of Emma, she’s rather less passive and does an impressive amount of self-rescuing rather than letting events dictate her actions. Her desire to change and grow are what makes this feel like a coming-of-age story, and I’d actually recommend it to younger readers of historical romance specifically as they could find her to be a very relatable character. As a ‘clean’ Regency I found it utterly charming. Five stars.
The Makings of a Lady is available now in all major ebook stores.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review from the author.