Since nothing came up in the interim (or indeed, since), I moved on to the third novel in Claire Darcy's Regency trio, Lydia. This one was a combination of quite a few GH's - I'd say mostly The Grand Sophy, but with a strong hint of Frederica and just a touch of Regency Buck. So many different ones, I'd say, one could almost say it stands on its own as an original. Its characters, or at least its heroine, can certainly hold her own. And the plot itself was rich with a good number of complexities. So what am I saying? I was impressed by this last of the three. With the first two, I felt like CD caught GH's style, but not much beyond that - the books were fun to read because they were Regency, but slow-moving and, at times, clumsy. I don't think Lydia could be called slow-moving at all - in fact, I enjoyed it from the start, and didn't want to put it down at any point. It was clumsy in a few places, for sure... but that's only to be expected, and really wasn't enough to mar my enjoyment at all.
I'm not saying we're talking about GH here. The romance was definitely not particularly well-executed - it's unclear when the falling in love happens, for starters, and the couple in question do not interact very much. We get some hint of the Viscount's feelings, but nothing extraordinary. And the Viscount himself, while very likeable in a combination of Mr. Beaumaris (ready enjoyment of amusing situations) and the Marquis of Alverstoke (not a marrying man), and a soldier to boot, is also new to his wealth, having inherited it unexpectedly from his great-uncle. Not the worst shame in the world, but we like our heros to be "independently wealthy" if possible :) The second point is a minor detail, the first less so, but despite both, the book was a good read. I'd say of all Clare Darcy's books I've read (and there were two others besides the trio, both substantially inferior), this one was the only one that makes me regret there aren't more. Maybe I'll even consider trying to find the others that there are.. maybe. But in any case, this one was worth the time.