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The Lady in Question by Victoria Alexander
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The Lady in Question

by Victoria Alexander

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Effington Family (7)

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403526,478 (3.47)8

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Showing 5 of 5
I’ve really struggled with Victoria Alexander’s books thus far. I genuinely want to like them, and there are certainly things I have liked about them. But despite that, the majority of the ones I’ve read so far have only rated in the 3-3.5 star range for me, which is just an OK read on my ratings scale. Unfortunately The Lady in Question was yet another of her books that didn’t quite make it out of that OK range. I liked the characters pretty well. Both the hero and heroine are nice people, albeit a little bland, especially given the fact that the hero is an agent of the Crown, which is why I felt that both of their characterizations could have gone a little deeper. Also the plot is pretty weak with very little happening during the first ¾ of the book. Leaving all the action until the very end is a habit I’ve noticed in some of Ms. Alexander’s others works, as well. I saw missed opportunities to liven things up and make the plot more interesting. So despite liking the main characters, I had a hard time getting into their story.

Philadelphia, known only as Delia to her family and friends, along with her twin, Cassandra are, I believe, the youngest of the Effington siblings. Cassie is the one everyone is always expecting to get into trouble, while everyone believes Delia is the sensible one. However, Delia caused a scandal when she married a man she hardly knew and then he disappeared and was presumed dead mere days later. Six months have gone by during which she’s supposed to be in mourning, but she never knew him well enough to fall in love with him and resents having to wear black and remain in seclusion for so long. Delia is a spirited girl who wants to have grand adventures. Since her husband only bedded her once, she also wants to use her newfound freedom as a wealthy widow to become a “woman of experience.” When Delia meets the mysterious Viscount St. Stephens while masquerading as her twin at a ball, she thinks he might be the perfect man with whom to begin gaining some experience, but she didn’t expect to fall in love with him so quickly and fears that history might be repeating itself. For the most part, I really liked Delia. She made one mistake and now as a result, she’s received society’s censure and even her family, aside from Cassie, are largely ignoring her, making her feel very lonely. The only issue I had is that her getting so upset with Tony over his masquerade as one of her servants when he was only looking out for her safety seemed a little hypocritical given that she was pretending to be someone else, too, when they first met. Otherwise, she was a pretty good heroine who is independent and isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants.

As the younger half-brother of the Viscount St. Stephens, Tony went into the military, which later turned into him becoming a spy and an agent of the Crown. Then his older brother died without an heir, leaving him the new viscount. When his friend, Delia’s first husband, goes missing, they believe he’s dead, but he was in pursuit of some sensitive documents which they’re still hoping to find. Then Delia’s new home is ransacked, so the powers that be put Tony in charge of a group of undercover agents who are tasked with protecting her, while still searching the house for the missing documents. However, he plans for this to be his final assignment, as he needs to take up his title. For the time being, he instead takes up the disguise of her elderly butler, and when she proves to be lonely and in need of help putting her husband's affairs in order, he unexpectedly becomes her friend and confidante. They spend long hours together working, as well as playing backgammon and simply talking, during which Tony comes to admire Delia very deeply. When she plans a trip to her family’s home in the country, he knows he can’t go as her butler, so he decides to go as himself instead. During a ball, he meets up with Delia who is masquerading as her sister, but Tony immediately realizes it’s her. He rapidly begins to fall in love with her grace and beauty and can’t resist seeing more of her outside of his servant’s disguise. I really liked Tony. His main thought is always for Delia’s safety and I enjoyed his protectiveness. He’s a real sweetheart, who romances her by trying to give her some of the grand adventures she’s craving, but ultimately he wants the grandest adventure to be falling in love with him.

I’d have to say that some of the same things I’ve both liked and disliked about Victoria Alexander’s other books are the same things I liked and disliked about The Lady in Question. I’ll start with my dislikes, one of which I mentioned before was the plotting. Considering that the agents felt there was enough of a threat to Delia’s life for her to need their protection, nothing the least bit frightening happens until the very end of the book, at which point the villain is very quickly apprehended and dispatched with little fanfare. I think the story would have been a lot more interesting if there had been more intrigue and a sense of danger throughout. Also, during the first ¾ of the book, there are a number of scenes that contain unnecessary and long-winded filler dialogue that doesn’t really advance the plot or characterizations like it should. As with the previous book of the series, the author also has a penchant for the two word rhetorical questions, such as “Have I?,” “Do you?”, “Is it?”. While not quite as plentiful as they were in the last book, there were still enough to be noticeable and a few too many in my estimation. As I also mentioned, I would have liked if the characterizations had been fuller and richer. I just didn’t feel like they got to the place where I really understood what made Tony and Delia tick. I saw some potential for going to that deeper place, but it was more like the author was skimming the surface of what they could have been.

As for what worked for me, Tony and Delia were both very likable even if they were a little bland. I could feel the all-important emotional connection between them that can really make or break a romance. The sexual tension was well-done and so were the two love scenes, one of which was a little spicy. Once things got moving, the final quarter of the book was more engaging, so that it at least ended on a fairly high note. The supporting cast was pretty good, although it appears the only character who gets a book of their own is Delia’s sister, Cassie. She becomes the heroine of the next book of the series, The Pursuit of Marriage. Overall, The Lady in Question was a cute story and a decent read, but I think that it could have been much more than that. I’ll probably read Cassie’s book, and depending on how that goes, all bets may be off as to whether I’ll continue to read more of Ms. Alexander’s work. ( )
  mom2lnb | Mar 12, 2018 |
In the words of Philadelphia, it was a "Grand Adventure." ( )
  mariahsidhe | May 12, 2016 |
Alexander's newest Regency-era romance launches with the death of Delia Effington's rakehell husband, who was secretly an English spy. The two had been married only a matter of days, and now Delia, widowed and wealthy, finds herself adrift in an unfamiliar house with only a few servants to keep her company. Little does she know that her husband's death put her under government suspicion, and handsome spy Viscount Tony St. Stephens has infiltrated her home in the guise of an elderly butler to protect her and to pry out her secrets. And little does Tony know that he'll fall fast and hard for Delia. Alexander raises the stakes when Delia begins to masquerade as her twin sister, and Tony tosses off his white wig and begins to court Delia.
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
A delicious Regency read!! Engaging characters and an entertaining plot line. Nice amount of steam to keep the story popping!

They really are quite a pair! Such an entertaining tale, much farce!

I love a lively historical with all the pomp and circumstance! Really enjoyable read!

A fun series. ( )
  grapeapril75 | Oct 18, 2014 |
From BackCover:
Identical twins, sensible Delia and mischievous Cassandra Effington were the most delicious debutantes to ever waltz across a London ballroom. They looked alike in every way...but no one ever expected Delia to be the one to get into trouble...

How did this young lady's reputation become so questionable?

Once she was lovely, respectable Miss Delia Effington, but an impulsive decision -- and subsequent disaster -- forces Delia to retire from society. Until one night, desperate for diversion, she attends a ball as her twin sister and finds herself dancing in the strong arms of the dashing Viscount St. Stephens.

Delia believes she has never met this man who arouses her passions, yet he seems somehow familiar. For Delia doesn't know that St. Stephens, an agent for the Crown, has been in her home, protecting her under the disguise of her butler. What will happen when this lady discovers the truth about the man she has come to love? ( )
  nikel27 | Jul 27, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Tanner, JillReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Tory with love from Mom. Giving you roots was easy, giving you wings was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. In spite of your wacko parents, you’ve grown up beautifully and your dad and I are so proud. Stretch your wings, sweet baby girl, and know we will always be here for you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060517611, Mass Market Paperback)

Identical twins, sensible Delia and mischievous Cassandra Effington were the most delicious debutantes to ever waltz across a London ballroom. They looked alike in every way . . . but no one ever expected Delia to be the one to get into trouble . . .

How did this young lady's reputation become so questionable?

Once she was lovely, respectable Miss Delia Effington, but an impulsive decision—and subsequent disaster—forces Delia to retire from society. Until one night, desperate for diversion, she attends a ball as her twin sister and finds herself dancing in the strong arms of the dashing Viscount St. Stephens.

Delia believes she has never met this man who arouses her passions, yet he seems somehow familiar. For Delia doesn't know that St. Stephens, an agent for the Crown, has been in her home, protecting her under the disguise of her butler. What will happen when this lady discovers the truth about the man she has come to love?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Once she was the lovely, respectable Miss Delia Effington, but an impulsive decision, and subsequent disaster, forces Delia to retire from society; until one night, desperate for diversion, she attends a ball as her twin sister and finds herself dancing in the strong arms of the dashing Viscount St. Stephens. She believes that she has never met the Viscount, yet he seems so familiar. Little does she know the real game that the Viscount is playing to protect her.… (more)

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