The Darkest Knight

The Duke in Disguise

His Bride

His Scandal

My Lady's Guardian

No Ordinary Groom

The Lord Next Door

The Viscount in Her Bedroom
by Gayle Callen
(Avon, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-06-078413-X
Callen has closed out her series about the “Sisters of Willow Pond” with a good romance that’s actually filled with romance! The Viscount in Her Bedroom is a fun book to read because the story revolves around the two main characters. There is no silly mystery or dastardly villain in the way. These two have enough in their heads to put up all the barriers they need to climb.

Louisa Shelby is a “spinster” primarily because her father, a banker, killed himself and left the family without any money. Her other two sisters have married well despite this, and now Louisa has to find something to do with her life so she is not a burden on her sisters’ new happiness. She had been serving as a companion to a dowager, but left when several of the males of the household got amorous. Louisa now has an opportunity to serve a similar role at Enfield Manor, and be a companion to Lady Wade, who lives with her niece Georgiana (who needs help getting ready to enter society for a second time after a rather disastrous first try) and Lord Simon Wade.

Simon is a viscount but is holed up at his grandmother’s estate due to an accident that left him blind. Simon was a gregarious, vivacious man who loved the ladies and was sought after within society. He has withdrawn due to his self-consciousness and uneasiness that everyone is watching and judging him. He feels he can never marry and be a burden on a young lady who will grow to pity or detest him.

Louisa remembers Simon from her Season and realizes that she always felt some attraction to him. She is still attracted. Simon too remembers how her hair shone in candlelight and how lovely she was. He also remembers stories that indicated she was somewhat loose. He is worried that she will stain Georgiana with that reputation and vows to keep his eye on her, so to speak, especially after Lady Wade enlists her to help Georgiana gain the confidence she needs. Georgiana, you see, had a terrible time in her come-out ball, tripping one gentleman and causing another have something spilled on them. She is fearful of men. Louisa, on the other hand, has always had an easy time conversing with men, using the tactic of talking about things they enjoyed such as riding and running their estate. Little did she know that this sense of camaraderie would lead to gossip.

The story follows Louisa as she tries to help first Georgie and then Simon as they learn to like themselves.

Louisa’s two sisters make an appearance, but not having read the previous two stories, I still had no trouble following the plotline. Georgie and Lady Wade are engaging and just nice people. Even Leo, the viscount’s carefree brother, who starts off being useless and generally rakish, ends up being likable. One can easily see a romance in his future. But what makes this a recommended read is the strength of the two main characters. Even when they are doubting and stepping back, their reasons make sense and you know they will eventually get it right. There is a slow seduction that explodes and feels right. There is conversation, humor, sharing of secrets and fun, all in the name of building a relationship. This is so seldom seen in romances these days, it shines in this tale.

The title comes from late night visits they make to each other to talk, allowing Louisa to be in the dark, like Simon is every day. This is where they share. And there is no predicable “caught in the act” forced marriage here. Their happy ever after is well deserved. A reader deserves to give The Viscount in Her Bedroom a try too.

--Shirley Lyons

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