Lady is Excellent
It’s really interesting to revisit the book that got you hooked on a beloved author, isn’t it?
Pretty much every romance reader I know adores Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I’m no different. She does the perfect contemporary romance and combines laughter and tears into the perfect romantic cocktail. She has perfect emotional pitch! And she writes the most wonderful sexual tension. All up, she’s great!
Now let me take you on a journey back to the dim, distant past. Well, the second half of the 90s, anyway!
I hadn’t long moved to Sydney from Queensland and I was just discovering the internet, including all those wonderful romance sites recommending writers that I’d never heard of (as well as SEP, think of Linda Howard and Jennifer Crusie). Sydney offered some wonderful distractions, including a now defunct romance bookshop called Rendezvous where the marvelous Malvina Yock put me onto a whole stack of writers new to me, many of whom have since become permanent fixtures on my bookshelf.
Cue me picking up my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lady Be Good. I laughed. I cried. I read the love scenes twice! This book has lived in my memory as a real classic. I read it a couple of times and then lent it to a friend who never returned it. Bad friend!
The result was that I hadn’t read this book in years when I decided to revisit this story and see if the magic was still there.
Oh, yeah, baby!
The first few chapters of this book are among the funniest pages I’ve ever read. We meet Lady Emma Wells-Finch, our luscious if bossy British headmistress, who arrives in Texas determined to create a scandal to save both her school and herself from a vile duke (yes, it is a contemporary!). We meet outwardly lazy but inwardly sharp as a tack golfer-in-disgrace Kenny Traveler who has been blackmailed into escorting Lady Emma during her visit. He’s not getting back on the pro golf tour unless he behaves. She doesn’t want to behave. Houston, we have a problem. We have even more of a problem when Emma immediately assumes that Kenny is a gigolo (a misunderstanding of the word ‘escort’) and the solution to her inconvenient good girl reputation. Hilarious cross purposes ensue and end with Emma gaining the whip hand over Kenny – so she thinks.
I hope you’re getting the picture of how much fun this story is. But beneath all the hijinks, there’s a deep well of emotion and these characters will touch your heart as well as your funnybone. You fall in love with Emma and Kenny just as they’re falling in love with each other – MUCH against their better judgment, I might point out!
As an added bonus, there’s also one of the best nerd-princess romances I’ve ever read. Dexter the computer guy will have you swooning as he pursues spoiled but troubled Torie Traveler.
Originally published on the Romance Dish blog on 24th October 2013.