LLC/paperback, 184 pages
Josette Price sees her future in Beddingfield Park. While her brother, George, needlessly pursues a naval career, she
promises to watch over their beloved parents and the park estate. Nothing would make Josette happier than to see her
sister and her self settled within the palings of Beddingfield. But dark, brooding Captain Carter rides into their lives with
news that ruins everything: George has been lost at sea.
Learning the Park is entailed to their cousin, Edward, Josette must decide between marrying her fickle relation or
helping her besotted sister trap him in her stead. Only Captain Carter and his delightfully spinsterish relatives can stop
the Price girls from making a choice that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
“Papa!” she shouted, as she stampeded into the vestibule. “Papa!” She knocked brusquely on the study door before
“Good Lord, Josette, what is it?”
Josette’s father had a frown creasing the folds of his skin. His eyes glared impatiently from beneath fuzzy brows.
“Someone’s come. An officer.” She squeezed her hands anxiously. Her father did not like to be disturbed in his
sanctuary and he did not like it when his daughter wandered about in the rain.
“You’re wet,” came his disapproving answer. Still, Sir Robert Price unfolded himself from his chair next to the fire and
moved over to one of three great windows overlooking the park.
“It’s not George,” Josette said.
Sir Robert glanced at the wet puddles from Josette’s slippers. “Go change at once. You are not fit to be seen.”
Josette felt the muslin sticking to her skin. Of course she was not. She’d put on very little beneath her morning dress
and it showed. Shamed that her lack of modesty had been discovered, she hurried up the stairs.
Had the officer noticed? Heat tinged her cheeks but she pushed it away. She’d done her duty and informed her father
of their visitor, petticoats not withstanding. At least they would be able to stoke the fire and fetch a warm drink.
As she reached the top of the stairs, Hannah met her with a gasp. “Which you’re all wet, Miss Price,” she chided. The
ancient woman, who had served two generations of Price family, took her by the elbow in concern. “And you’ve been
out without your bonnet, too.”
Josette allowed herself to be led to her room. The door had not shut behind them before she startled herself in the
looking glass. Her hair was a tangled mess, her face flushed on both cheeks. What had the officer thought of the
hoyden in the woods?
A recollection of him lying in a heap made her stare at her own reflection. With his cape thrown back, the epaulette on
his shoulder had gleamed in the dreary gloom.
There had been no white piping on that uniform.
“Oh bother,” she muttered.
The man galloping across Beddingfield Park had been no mere lieutenant. He’d worn the rank of
Hannah sent her warm milk but Josette was at no leisure to enjoy it, for Amy came bursting in after the first swallow.
“Josette,” said her younger sister breathlessly, “a captain from the Royal Navy is here!” She squealed the last word
then jumped onto the bed like a little girl. “Hannah said he’s very handsome, too.”
“And puffed up,” answered Josette.
“But he’s a captain. He is important.”
“First Lieutenants are important, too.”
Amy waved this away as if it were unpleasant vapor. With her prim nose, pink sash, and golden hair set with ribbons,
she looked angelic. “But a captain’s more so. And I’d wager he’s come about George. He’s been promoted to be sure.”
A dark idea flowered in Josette’s mind at the same time a peal of thunder crashed overhead. She hurried to the window
to inspect the storm.
“Do you think he’ll stay?” Amy asked. The suspense in her voice revealed she hoped that he would stay and long
enough to fall violently in love with her.
“Bother, Amy,” Josette said impatiently, “What does it matter?” She watched a raindrop trail down the glass like a slow,
tired tear. From nowhere, a foreboding weight settled in her chest.
Dodging the service tray, she made a perfunctory self-examination at her repair. The mirrored image showed dark
curls, more a bristly mess than ringlets. She turned to see the bow high on her back matched the smart green flowers
scattered across the printed cotton. Green was one of the few colors that didn’t clash with her muddy brown eyes. She
frowned at herself then hurried out with Amy dogging her heels.
The pair of them stopped on the stairs as the doors to their father’s study opened. Out came Bernard, their butler, with
a very long face. He nodded toward Hannah waiting at the end of the hall, and their faithful housekeeper burst into
“Who died?” asked Amy in her carefree voice, and the weight in Josette’s chest exploded.
“Bernard!” she cried, forgetting the injustice of being able to only wear green and brown. She jumped down the stairs
two at a time. “What is it?” No one scolded her for her precarious actions or tried to stop her from interrupting her
father a second time. She knocked as she swept through the door and stopped short at the unwelcome picture.
Sir Robert stood afore the hearth with a look of disbelief, his hands limp at his sides. His wife was seated beside the
great mahogany desk. A small tear cascaded down Lady Price’s cheek just as rain had trickled down Josette’s window.
“Mama?” Josette swallowed so that panic did not overtake her.
The man who had cut across the park was standing at the windows. He was rumpled from the fall, and his hair was
plastered to his head from the rain. He turned when she entered the room, and the gravity on his face could not be
denied. Surely there would have been a letter or an announcement in the ship-news if her brother had come to harm.
“What is it?”
The guest cleared his throat and looked for permission to speak, but both of Josette’s parents seemed as if a Midas of
bad tidings had frozen them into caricatures of disbelief.
“Is it George?” Josette beseeched.
The captain finally spoke. “I’ve beaten the post which is late beyond reason.” He hesitated as Josette’s heart began to
race. “Your brother was a trusted friend and a most loyal officer.”
Josette shook her head as she struggled to make sense of it. “My brother was?” She flapped her arms like a bird,
unable to fold them or put them to her hips. This seemed to disconcert the man, and he looked once more to her
“Josette,” her mother whispered, but the captain with penetrating eyes interrupted again.
“Your brother is dead.” His emotionless answer blew Josette’s heart into pieces.
Comment/review = This makes the fifth Regency novel I've read, counting two by Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice and
Emma. Ms. Thorne's, Josette is not one whit behind the other four novels I've read.
She is well versed on the dress and customs of the Regency period. Her characters, even the minor ones, are well
developed. Josette and Captain Carter form the heart of the novel and right away we see the attraction between the
two, albeit subdued at first. The death of Josette's brother brings a great deal of stress for the family, thus giving a very
interesting storyline. You will find sadness, humor, happiness and the list goes on. I highly recommend Josette and I
believe once you've started reading it, you will not want to put it down.
Amazon review by: Larry Hammersley
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = 4.5/5.0 - and I'm stuck right in the middle as whether to bump it or not...
The 5 star argument:
This is an incredibly well written, engaging, lovely story that is almost impossible to put down. Josette's character can
be completely infuriating while still managing to be endearing. All the characters are fleshed out so well that even when
they are behaving badly, the reader can understand and sympathize with them. Ms. Thorne has also done an exquisite
job of creating extreme sexual tension without stooping to graphics. It's completely clean but stirs up enough heat in the
telling that those who like steam would not be disappointed.
The 4 star argument:
(My publisher's voice screams in my head) "Never give 5 stars to a plot line that isn't original! The storyline in "Josette"
is so closely reminiscent of "Pride and Prejudice" that one can almost guess what will happen next, and most assuredly
predict the major conflict and resolution of the H/h long before the ending. Although not exact, the cast and design are
close enough to suffer constant comparisons while reading.
Georgetet Heyer and Jane Austing fans, this is definitely a must read book! The fact that it comes so close to Regency
perfection ends up trumping even those nay-saying voices in my head :D
Amazon review by: T. Schneider
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = A new Regency author has hit cyberspace! Wow, wow, wow is all I can say about this delightful book
from Ms. Thorne. Throughout the pages I caught glimpses of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice combined,
yet this story is unique in its own right.
I swoon over Captain Carter (oh boy, is he a hunk). I love how Ms. Thorne details his "manliness" from his "iron chest"
to his dress, and to the tantalizing scent he carries.
Josette is willful, too opinionated for her own good, and she jumps to conclusions prematurely. This causes no end of
the angst for our Captain Carter. (did I mention he is a 12 on a scale of 1 - 10?)
There were a few moments when I laughed out loud, when I wanted to throttle Josette, when I sighed over Carter, when
I growled at Edward, and when I rolled my eyes at Amy. But, believe me, during it all I could see the movie adaptation.
Oh yes, I could, and a screen writer needs to snap this story up pronto!
Wonderful book, Ms. Thorne, and I can't wait for you to delight us again with another sweet tale. I toss my bonnet to
Amazon review by: Miss Mae
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = Although Captain Carter has a good poker face, you soon suspect that he is enamored of Josette if
only she would get over her anger and forgive him. Josette is opinionated and stubborn and makes you want to stomp
your feet at her negative behavior. Amy is young, a bit whiny and annoying but the role plays perfectly in the story.
Each of the characters is well developed and they fit well in the Regency plotline. There are a few unexpected side
shoots in the plot but for the most part it is a bit predictable. Still, the charming characters make it fun to get where the
story needs to go.
The author does a lovely job of building sexual awareness and yet keeping the story on a completely sweet heat level.
The writing is descriptive and flows well. The author evokes a range of emotions from sadness, mirth, despondency,
and joy. The entire package is an easy, charming read. A great choice especially for historic romance fans.
Reviewed by Martha E., Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
To Marissa Farmer, my old friend: You bring sunshine into
the lives of everyone around you. Never give up on romance.
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