Barbara Metzger: Miss Lockharte’s Letters


Delirious with fever, Rosellen Lockharte summons all her strength to pen several letters from her attic deathbed. Soon all who set her willy-nilly on this path to perdition as a penmanship teacher will learn that in her final hour she forgave them. All except him. But why wait for Judgment Day to tell Viscount Stanford she thinks he is the most heinous of humans? Let her death be a burden to him forever.

But the burden, it appears, is on her. For not only has she cheated death, but now the very same man who ruined her life has–albeit, reluctantly–come to her rescue. Certainly, not even the angels above could have predicted the chaos that will ensue–nor the magic of unexpected love. . . .

This heroine has had it rough, and thinking she is dying, decides to open her budget and release some fury in the form of a series of frank letters.  If you have ever longed to give someone a good verbal smackdown for being a jerkface, you will relate to this heroine who gets thrown headlong into a delightful series of unfortunate events.

Many, feeling guilty from her stinging prose, come to her rescue and embroil her in a a nonstop action packed farce.  The heroine is brassy, sassy, and also resilient.  Its the last bit that made her resonate so strongly with me, and in turn, I think made the pattern card stiff rumped hero fall for her, too.  A viscount with a rather full plate, he is the source of Rosellen’s ultimate disappointment.  This leads to the traditional hidden feelings type of conflict which could be frustrating if the whirlwind of action and comedy wasn’t whirring around them.

Somewhere along the hurtling towards the HEA, I was struck by the undercurrent of real poignant insight to how rough a lot of folks had it.  Thoughts of free will, with so much constraint, must’ve felt like a cruel joke.  I think that is the strength of a great Reg Rom author…that element of giving pause to think about the cultural underpinnings of an otherwise hilarious escapist tale.

I loved the deep thoughts and reflection, but its not the backbone of the novel.  The real strength of this book is the comedy…and that definitely is credited to the supporting characters who are bumbling, fumbling hot messes.  For those fans of Heyer’s romps, Metzger nearly nails it here.  Its a tight, short flight of fancy and fun that will lift you up, laughing, from start to finish (ok, maybe the first chapter or so was a little slow).

For those looking for hot action, mass market snappiness, or a combo of the two, give a pass.  But for those in search of a funny, traditional Regency definitely check  this one out.

5 out of 6 Full of funny and tender moments, a classic Reg Rom.

Content Rating/Heat Index
Some suggestive content
Not really.
Not really.
Light mature subtext, but otherwise a comedy filled traditional Reg Rom.

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