Continuing my New Year’s historical fiction binge, I decided that Turner #1 was enjoyable enough to read the rest of the Turner series, and did so in fairly short order – about a week, I believe. Unlocked is book #1.5, strictly speaking a novella and a quick, fairly enjoyable read.
Unlocked takes a helpful but dimly-painted secondary character from another book in the series (her major feature in her first appearance appears to be her spinsterhood and to be honest was so forgettable that I don’t remember which of the 3 other books) and gives them their own love story.
Lady Elaine Warren is, as mentioned above, a spinster and a wallflower. Ten years ago, in her first Season, she was publicly shamed by Evan Carlton. This being the Regency and a romance novel, the sheep of the ton took Carlton’s lead (he’s an Earl, you know) and made Lady Elaine’s life abjectly miserable. How this poor girl ended up being a decent person, I have no clue.
Anyway, for the last 10 years, while Lady Elaine has been suffering in London, Carlton has been off becoming a mountaineer (nice), which has given him greater respect for his fellow man (nice), as well as a healthy sense of the important things in life (nice) and the closeness of death (not so nice, but it does give him some witty rejoinders to societal idiots, which is nice). Carlton has now returned, and wants to make it up to Lady Elaine.
This is a really fun story, but I have one major problem with it: Carlton’s actions are basically excused as pulling a girl’s pigtails because you like her. Courtney Milan’s heroines are generally pretty progressive and she often digs up forgotten women from history to shine light on their stories – I expected a bit more from her on that front.
Still, turn your brain off and it’s a nice Sunday-afternoon story.