I saw the self-published title My Lady, My Lord (2014) by Katherine Ashe (Martha Trachtenberg, editor) on the 2015 RITA paranormal romance finalist list and purchased it as an e-book without reading the synopsis. The cover image provided no hint about the story. I had no idea what the story was about, and I did not care. If the book made a RITA finalist list, it had a good chance at being really good.
The first chapter establishes the hero, Ian Chance, eighth Earl of Chance, is not a nice person, but he respects his mother. Chance likes liquor, lonely widows, and stewing in rakish environments. When I finished the first chapter I thought “What have I got myself into?” I checked with RT Book Reviews and they assigned a “hot” rating to the book, which the first chapter alone earns. In the scheme of things the first chapter is not that “hot”, but it is explicit. Chance is comfortable with his body. The rest of the book is pretty tame once you get past the “hot” and important first chapter.
I would describe My Lady, My Lord as a cross between the movies Freaky Friday and You’ve Got Mail. Our hapless heroes, life-long neighbors and antagonists Chance and bluestocking Lady Corinna Mowbray have the bad luck of arguing in front of a statue of Aphrodite who happens to be hanging around the museum incognito. The next morning Chance and Corinna wake up, and the fun begins. Both must learn important lessons, and humble themselves. Chance learns how difficult it is for Corinna, an intelligent and enterprising young women in 1822 to get anything, including starting her own business, accomplished. Corinna learns Chance’s life as a rake and eighth Earl of Chance is not as easy as she would have assumed. They both botch some encounters, and step away from debasing the other and doing irreparable damage to the other’s future when they realize they cannot commit to ruining the other no matter how much they despise the other.
I thought this book was very funny. The banter between characters was wonderful. The book flows well. The book is set in 1822, which Katherine Ashe call’s “Regency-era” but RT Book Reviews calls “Victorian” and “Historical”. I would identify the book as a “Regency” era story. Yes, the story is completely improbable, but who cares. The story is entertaining. The “paranormal” listing is only because of what happens to Chance and Corinna, but otherwise it is a solid Regency romance. I read straight through in one night, and laughed the whole time. This is a fun story with a stubborn couple. I have not encountered anything like it before.
Please, note the Aphrodite sculpture image I used is not what is described in My Lady, My Lord. I could not find an image as described by Katherine Ashe. The images I found of a reclining Aphrodite were unusable for various reasons.
Below is Katherine Ashe’s website for My Lady, My Lord.
A complete list of 2015 RITA finalists in all categories is here