Series Review: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes by Maya Rodale

Series Review: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes by Maya RodaleLady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1
Published by Avon on February 23, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 361
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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three-stars

In the first novel of Maya Rodale's stunning new series, an American heiress must learn to navigate London society and an infuriatingly irresistible rake . . .>

Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England's most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand—but thwarted—plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing . . . and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget's diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all—a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

Going into Lady Bridget’s Diary, I didn’t realize it was a Pride & Prejudice retelling! Shocking no one, that made my day. Lady Bridget’s Diary is by no means brilliant, but I had a hella good time with this thoroughly silly P&P-inspired romance.

Lady Bridget’s one of the American Cavendishes, who just (SURPRISE!) inherited a dukedom. Their aunt tracked them down in America to prevent Mr. Collins from inheriting the estate and title (lolololol). Lord Darcy’s convinced that Americans among the aristocracy spells the end of civilization as the ton knows it. His fears are confirmed when Lady Bridget falls flat on her back at her first ball.

Lord Darcy’s fairly spot-on for Darcy, but Bridget’s more Bridget Jones than Elizabeth Bennet. The drama of the plot comes entirely from Bridget writing stuff in her diary that she absolutely should not have. Bridget’s not particularly clever, though she and her whole family do enjoy loving teasing. Bridget also shares the fuller figure of Bridget Jones.

I didn’t particularly ship Bridget and Darcy, but I had so much fun with all the references. There’s even a very overt Mean Girls reference, on top of the endless P&P ones. I loved the way that Darcy’s brother served the Wickham role but also didn’t. Amelia’s “scandal” was a fun change, as well. However, I didn’t love the way the plot hinges more strongly around the Caroline figure. Girl hate is so last season.

While not particularly well-written or shippy, I still had a whole lot of fun with this one. I’m a bit skeptical of how well the next books will go, since I enjoyed this for the retelling aspect alone, but we’ll see, I guess.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes by Maya RodaleChasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2
Published by Avon on June 28, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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three-stars

Terribly Improper
Lady Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one night she escapes…and finds herself in the company of one Alistair Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls. How lucky then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!

Totally Scandalous
Alistair and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever wanted.

Very Romantic
When Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming…will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

My expectations for Chasing Lady Amelia were pretty low. Though I had a delightful time with Lady Bridget’s Diary, that was based entirely upon the references to Pride & Prejudice and other bits of pop culture. Unlike books one and three of the series, Chasing Lady Amelia isn’t a retelling, and the description of the plot sounded way less up my alley. Somehow, though, despite that and the continued weakness of the writing, I really enjoyed it.

The main redeeming feature of Chasing Lady Amelia is that the love interest defies convention. Alistair is half-Indian, he’s not well off, he’s nice, and he’s not into that alpha bullshit. I love that he’s biracial, but it isn’t done well. There’s almost nothing done with that, and he’s written like a white man, pretty much. As far as I can tell, he passes for white, his skin even described as being fairly light; Amelia had no idea until he told her. Sadly, this is still notable and rare diversity in a romance novel; most of the diversity I’ve encountered in Regency romance is secondary characters, if it exists at all.

Mostly, though, I like that Amelia takes the lead in the relationship. She’s the more daring and forthright of the two. She pushes to advance their physical relationship, and he’s perhaps the more soft-hearted. They have a fairly nice, light banter, and they bond well over never having really felt like they fit in. I do like when the heroes appreciate the heroines for what they are, rather than wanting to change them, and that’s very much the case here. It’s cute in the epilogue how he clearly doesn’t make an attempt to rein her in whatsoever.

Chasing Lady Amelia still isn’t outstanding by any means, but I had way more fun with it than I anticipated.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes by Maya RodaleLady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes
Published by Avon on December 27, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-stars

In the third installment of Maya Rodale’s captivating, witty series, a marquess finds his fair lady—but must figure out how to keep her

HER BRAINS…

Claire Cavendish is in search of a duke, but not for the usual reasons. The man she seeks is a mathematician; the man she unwittingly finds is Lord Fox: dynamic, athletic, and as bored by the equations Claire adores as she is by the social whirl upon which he thrives. As attractive as Fox is, he’s of no use to Claire . . . or is he?

PLUS HIS BRAWN . . .

Fox’s male pride has been bruised ever since his fiancée jilted him. One way to recover: win a bet that he can transform Lady Claire, Society’s roughest diamond, into its most prized jewel. But Claire has other ideas—shockingly steamy ones . . .

EQUALS A STUDY IN SEDUCTION . . .

By Claire’s calculations, Fox is the perfect man to satisfy her sensual curiosity. In Fox’s estimation, Claire is the perfect woman to prove his mastery of the ton. But the one thing neither of them counted on is love . . .

Oh hey, this one I actually really liked! I really wasn’t expecting an improvement and quality, but this one actually improves on the technical level, with less typos and incorrect verbiage for the era, while also delivering my favorite of the ships.

One thing I find very strange about this series is that all four books (well, I’m assuming on the last, but I’m pretty positive), are set over the exact same timeframe. Bridget, Amelia, and Claire are all falling in love at the same time. This defies romance series convention, which has siblings get married in quick succession, one at a time. That’s done so that there’s no repetition. Frankly, I thought Rodale was making a huge mistake, but she actually manages to tell them without too much belaboring of what’s gone before.

Lady Claire’s the smartest of the three sisters, a mathematical genius interested only in getting to know the Royal Society of mathemeticians. The writing really does seem much better for the cleverer Claire, and if that was all stylistic, I’m way more impressed with Rodale, though I’ll have to read more to know for sure. Obviously, I love my nerdy, genius romance heroines who are allowed to shine in an arena they historically usually were not.

Lady Claire Is All That is, you guessed it, a retelling of She’s All That with the sporty, popular and recently jilted Lord Fox accepting a wager from a friend to turn her into the darling of the ton by the time of a certain ball. Beneath the glasses, severe hair, slightly sloppy dresses, and discussion of math, she’s secretly hot! Who knew?

Unsurprisingly, Claire and Fox find themselves drawn to one another for reasons neither of them understands. Just kidding: they understand; it’s the passion. As a ship with very little in common, Rodale does a nice job with opposites attract. The epilogue does a nice job highlighting how they’ve made things work through the years (with bad math jokes, YAS), mostly by respecting each other’s interests. I like that their feelings evolve basically in a complete mirror.

Another cute and fun retelling from Rodale. In my opinion, this one’s by far the best of the series up to this point.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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