A Summer to Remember
by Mary Balogh
Series: Bedwyn Saga #0.6
Genres: Historical Romance
This is the middle of three prequels for the Bedwyn Saga historical romance series. Yeah, it was a surprise to me, too. The couple focus is on Kit and Lauren.
I must confess to being somewhat confused at the start. The impression I had received from the actual Bedwyn Saga books is that Kit came back from Europe with his new bride as a fait accompli, destroying all of Freyja’s hopes and dreams. Kit was actually playing hard in London and avoiding the family manse until he got the ultimatum from his father. Nor did I get the impression that Freyja was all that cut-up about it (in this story).
Still, on its own, it was a sweet romance. It was a nice treat to have a female character who is resolute in saying no; such a rare event. Balogh certainly came up with an interesting twist in solving Lauren and Kit’s initial problem.
Nothing earth-shattering with glaring bits of historical inaccuracy. I did cry, though. Insightful thought from Lauren on war and how it affects men: “never thought to wonder if men’s minds were permanently damaged by the atrocities of war. She had always considered that Englishmen fought for right and justice and so would have nothing on their consciences”.
I did feel sorry for Lauren. As the story goes on, Balogh reveals her family history and the trauma she has suffered since she was a wee girl. It certainly makes sense as to why she has behaved as she has. Kit’s history is unveiled as well providing us with a better understanding of his issues as well. Humph, I’m not impressed with Kit’s performance in bed with Lauren the first time! What an ass!
It’s a scandalous fight in Hyde Park that first allows our heroine and hero to become aware of each other. Right after Kit kissed a milkmaid!
Kit’s father commands him to come home to Alvesley for his grandmother’s birthday ball. An order that has Kit in an angry and reckless mood. His father is insisting that his betrothal to Lady Freyja is the perfect birthday gift. Well, Kit would marry anyone but Freyja after the manner in which she rejected him three years ago! And it’s a drunken night out with his friends when he lists the qualities he wants in his retribution bride: dull, prim, respectable. Perfect.
Lauren is only in London because she simply couldn’t stand being at Newbury Abbey anymore with the happy couple and Elizabeth provided an out. When her name crops up that drunken evening, Kit’s friends try to persuade him against her, citing all the barriers and impossibilities. A challenge that Kit cannot resist.
It’s not the only challenge that Kit comes up against, for Lauren is firm about not marrying, and he quickly realizes how best to manipulate the so-very-proper Miss Lauren Edgeworth. With her family’s unknowing cooperation. The chase is on with Miss Edgeworth the fox and Kit the more and more willing hunter.
We are introduced to the Bedwyn siblings in this story as it provides the background for the break in the Butler-Bedwyn neighbor relationship, but especially for Freyja Bedwyn in Slightly Scandalous.
The Honorable Miss Lauren Edgeworth is suffering from a cancelled wedding to Neville Wyatt, the Earl of Kilbourne (see One Night for Love (One Night for Love), eighteen months ago. Embarrassed beyond words, Lauren simply wants to live on her own and never have to consider marriage again. It’s Kit’s confession that spurs Lauren to make her own surprising counter-offer. Baron Galton is her grandfather.
Elizabeth, the Duchess of Portfrey, is Lauren’s aunt and married to Lyndon (the duke). Gwendoline “Gwen”, Lady Muir, is Neville’s sister. Neville Wyatt and his wife, Lily, live at Newbury Abbey where Lauren grew up with Neville and Gwen; Clara Wyatt is the Dowager Countess. Joseph Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough, is a cousin of Lauren’s and the Wyatt siblings. Joseph’s parents are Webster and Sadie Fawcitt, the Duke and Duchess of Anburey, who has gotten her daughter, Lady Wilma, betrothed and has now set her sights on getting Lauren hooked up.
Colonel Christopher “Kit” Butler, Viscount Ravensberg (and unexpected heir to the earldom), has been raking about in London for the past year since selling his commission and building a reputation for scandalous behavior; he can’t go home as he was banished three years ago. The Earl and Countess of Redfield are his parents; Sydnam is his crippled, angry brother. Lord Farrington, Charles Rush, and Lord Arthur are all friends of his.
The Bedwyns, from Wulfric on down to Morgana, are determined to insult Lauren from the start. I love how she very quietly and politely gave it right back!
The Cover and Title
It’s a mellow yellow cover with the scroll outlines creating a wallpaper-like background for the deep red title and author’s name. It would probably feel more summery if the outlines had been in green, but I’m just nitpickin’.
The title is certainly accurate as I don’t think Kit or Lauren will ever forget this summer, their actions have certainly made it A Summer to Remember.