St George and the Dragon
By Beth Andrews
Thorndike Press - Large Print Edition (2006)
Also available from Chivers Large Print (2006) ISBN: 1-4056-3522-3
Genre: Historical Fiction - Regency Romance
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - May 22, 2006
Sir Richard St George is a rake and a cad, and he has molded his protege, Julian Marchmont in his image. However, as his fortieth birthday approaches, Sir Richard finds himself beset with a chronic case of boredom. Copying Sir Richard in all things, Julian also finds himself at odds with the monotony of loose women, fine wines, and the constant matrimonial machinations of the matrons with young daughters to marry off. So it is with a renewed sense of excitement that Julian accepts a unique challenge set for him by his uncle, Sir Jasper Marchmont. Several years past, a rich merchant purchased Folbrook Abbey, located near Sir Jasper's estates. The merchant, Mr. Woodford, lives the life of a recluse with his daughter and her companion. Sir Jasper is one of the few people who has ever gotten a glimpse of the bewitching Miss Cassandra Woodford, but other than the state of her beauty, he knows almost nothing about her. To satisfy his own curiosity and to break his nephew's sense of ennui he sets him a wager - to meet and seduce the young, beautiful, and innocent Miss Woodford - and to do so within a month's time. Julian readily accepts the wager with one caveat. Sir Richard must accompany him to run interference with Miss Rosalind Powell, Miss Woodford's dragon like friend and guardian. With Sir Jasper's consent, the two men, one nearing forty and the younger just twenty-one, set out to seduce these two unsuspecting women without a thought to the reputations and feelings of their would-be prey.
This is the exciting start to St George and the Dragon, the newest book by Beth Andrews to be released in large print. A historical romance set in 1816 England, this is a boisterous and humourous story that pits two formidable teams against each other. For while Sir Richard and Julian think that they have the advantage, but their 'prey' is well aware that they are being hunted and they set out to turn the tables on these two men who are very much in need of a lesson in humility!
Sir Richard and Julian's task is not only complicated by the fact that the two women are aware of their attentions and the fact that they have to find a means of simply meeting these two reclusive women, but once they do they are thrown for a further loop when they discover that the beautiful Cassandra is blind. However, after the slightest of pauses, the game is on and the two relentlessly press their attack. These two likable rouges even go to the extreme of using Sir Richard's widowed cousin, Mrs. Priscilla Plummer, to give themselves the appearance of respectability. Mrs. Plummer is a kind, dynamic character who is unaware of the role she is playing in the men's game of seduction and at times it is hard to tell just whose side she is on.
St George and the Dragon is a fast paced and fiery story that pits two disparate yet surprising equal teams against each other in a fascinating game of cat and mouse. Cassandra and Rosalind are somewhat naive and innocent, yet they are strong willed, intelligent, and determined not to be sullied by these two scoundrels. From the beginning, I wanted to hate these two egocentric and debauched men, but I just couldn't. There is just something about them that makes you want to forgive them for their past sins, especially when they are faced with such fierce opponents as Cassandra and Rosalind. The women, for their part, are strong female characters whose spirited and witty defiance wants to make you cheer. From the beginning, it is questionable who will win this battle of wits - the rakes or the cloistered angels, especially when real emotions become involved! St George and the Dragon makes for a great beach read, or simply a book to curl up with on a lazy afternoon. An all-around fun read!
Other books by Beth Andrews include:
A Scandalous Secret
The Marplot Marriage
Hidden in the Heart
The Unforgiving Eye
A Scandalous Secret
, by Beth Andrews.
In this Regency romance, when the widowed Countess of Dansmere arrives at her sister's home, she finds two men vying for her attention, the arrogant marriage-minded Viscount Maples and Mr. Markham, a wealthy merchant who knows a terrible secret about the Countess. Markham is bent upon revenge, and if he reveals her secret, she may well be ruined, along with her young son! (Large Print)
The Unforgiving Eye, by Beth Andrews.
Returning from their honeymoon, newlywed's Lydia and John Savidge, find that they have one task that needs doing before they can begin their married life - they need to solve the murder of Sir Benedict Stanbury - and they only have three days in which to do it! (Large Print)