Monday, April 1, 2024

The Lady He Lost - Review

The Lady He Lost (The Lucky Ladies of London, # 1)

By: Faye Delacour

Expected Publication: April 2, 2024 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

336 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Her only interest is in making her own way in the world. Luckily, he can help.

Lieutenant Eli Williams was supposed to be dead. In the two years since his shipwreck, his friends and family mourned him, his brother spent his savings, and his fiancée married someone else. So, when he turns up in the middle of the London social season, he quickly becomes the talk of the town. All Eli wants is to set his life back in order and reconnect with Jane Bishop, a friend who has always meant so much more to him, before returning to sea.

Jane refuses to waste any more of her life pining over Eli, who chose her cousin instead of her. She needs to focus on gaining her financial independence by establishing a ladies' gambling club. Never mind that Eli keeps trying to atone for his past mistake by bringing in new members. He's obviously keeping secrets about his disappearance, which means that she can't trust him with her heart even if she did kiss him in a moment of weakness. Or three.

As Eli works to regain her trust, Jane's defensive walls begin to crumble. But when Eli faces a court of inquiry on suspicion of desertion, Jane must decide if she can let go of the past to build a future with Eli, or risk losing him for good.

This charming and sexy friends to enemies to lovers historical romance romp is the perfect read for fans of Evie Dunmore and India Holton.

At the risk of giving too much away, Jane and Eli have been great friends for years. Ever since she visited relatives that were neighbors of his family. Eli and Jane have always connected, and Jane has been in love with him for a long time. Only, Eli made a stupidly male decision on a whim one night and got caught in a compromising position with her cousin. The resulting engagement broke Jane's heart. Eli needed the military to make his way in the world and to be able to afford a wife, so he left. Only his ship was commandeered by pirates and he was taken as a prisoner. His ship was wrecked and he was presumed dead. Jane mourned him but had to keep the depths of her mourning to herself as she didn't feel she had the right to mourn him as his fiance did. Eventually, Cecily marries someone else and Eli returns from the dead.

Jane refuses to allow her feelings for Eli to get riled up just because he's back. He chose Cecily over her. And she needs to focus on her own plans. Her uncle is a busybody matchmaker, constantly throwing eligible suitors in her way. But Jane plans to take her future into her own hands by starting an exclusive card club for women only. Why should men be the only ones to get to have any fun?

Eli returns with a mystery. He was shipwrecked and kidnapped, but he also could have returned home sooner than he did. The why is supposed to be the mystery and the ramifications when it appears that he deserted his post. I didn't love this part of the story. It seemed like a means to an end rather than a true part of the story. Like an afterthought maybe.

The "about the author" says that Faye Delacourt writes "feminist historical fiction." I suppose the progressive ideas pushed in The Lady He Lost included the women's card club that Jane was insistent upon providing her own way. As well as the progressive physical relationship that Jane and Eli had before marriage. Of course, these types of relationships have always happened, but culturally, this wasn't the norm of this period of history. I never mind skipping a feminist twist. Empowering is one thing, but feminism always seems to push things too far for me.

I pretty much hated Cecily. She was always in competition with Jane. I've known way too many people in real life who always feel the need to compete. And they exhaust me. At least Faye Delacourt provided her with a reasonable motivation for her behavior. And she didn't end up being a complete villain.

Favorite quotes:

-Really, what were gardens even for, except to compromise young ladies at house parties? Everyone knew that.

-They settled on the library, as it had served as a traditional hiding place for many a guest at many a party such as this.

-"I do love when you two are kind to each other."

Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. Jane was a little too progressive for my taste considering the culture. Eli's mystery felt too thrown together. And the side characters were mostly annoying for too much of the book to be redeemed by the endings they got. The Lady He Lost gets 3 Stars. Have you read The Lady He Lost? What did you think? Let me know!

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