I remember the day I received the exciting bag. It was 1979. I was twelve and I was off of school and home sick with bronchitis.
A simple Tesco Carrier bag in which my Aunty Olive (then a spry forty years old - OMG she seemed SO old) had placed a selection of books for me as I was *old enough now to read them now*.
As I said before, I was twelve, or thereabouts. I was one of those weird readers who had already cleared through Narnia and Lord Of The Rings and decided THAT is where my reading interests lay (note - I probably skim read LOTR). If I wanted romance then there was romance in Narnia, I mean, come on, who didn't read those books and fall in love with Caspian... ROFL... and as for Samwise in LOTR - God I loved his self sacrifice and love for Frodo (even then I was slashing!). Anyway, I digress.
My aunty knew me though. She knew I was ripe for a real romance and boy did she deliver...
Janet Daley was my first ever romance. You know the sort - the one with the girl who does something that breaks through her gender wall and ends up with a stern unforgiving hero who pushes her around and demands things of her... and proves that she is right where she should be - in his arms and back behind the gender wall where he can look after her. Meep...loved it...
Then there were the gorgeous Regency romances, with the Ton, and the season, and old London, and *the country* and dukes and estates... and I WANTED TO BE THERE... of course knowing my luck I would be working in a tavern but still... a girl can dream...
Why am I telling you this? Because in Sue Brown's book, The Layered Mask, she perfectly captures the essence of those first regency romances that I read but brings the story right up to to date in writing style and detail. I loved the characters and the feel of the entire book. It was just pure enjoyment... with the restraint of a careful hand Sue Brown has built a London and a time when so much was made of not being seen doing the wrong thing. Where the fact that men wanted men was only to be found behind the most secure of locked doors.
A beautiful sexy romantic story. Recommended for those who like a *real right proper* regency romance.
To buy The Layered Mask click here