Sometimes when you go digging through the dust and cobwebs of the past, all that happens is a sneeze. But other times you find a forgotten treasure and you say to yourself -- now I know why this author is still around. Book Review: Lady with a Black Umbrella by Mary Balogh Lady with a Black Umbrella
by Mary Balogh is one of my all-time favorite Balogh
books. Why? It's funny. Yes, Mary Balogh
did write a fun, light-hearted book. This book proves that she can write more than just angst; I just wish she'd do it more often. This is another Signet book, written in 1989 and just recently re-released. It is not connected to any of her other novels.
Our hero, Giles, Viscount Kincade, is having a bad day. Not only did he lose some money in a card game, but sometime during the night he was robbed. Now, he doesn't have the blunt to pay his gambling debt, the bill from the innkeeper, or the oh-so-charming barmaid he spent the night with. He has promised to pay everything he owes on his return to London and they all have begrudgingly accepted his word. However, he is totally embarrassed. You see, dignity is very important to this man and that is too bad because he is about to meet someone who will make him lose his dignity over and over again -- Daisy Morrison.
Daisy Morrison is staying at the inn with her younger sister and she is watching the view of the inn's yard from her window. She notices something which the oblivious Giles fails to. There are three men approaching him from different sides and they appear to be up to no good. This thinking proves to be true when the three men start beating Giles up. Well, what’s a girl to do? She rushes to the rescue, along with her curlers, disappearing freckle cream, nightgown, and trusty umbrella. She is incensed and proceeds to whack the crap out of the three attackers. Giles is not necessarily grateful to his savior. In fact, he is just a tad bit afraid of the wild eyed woman -- but he thanks her. He and his black eye get in his carriage and head back to London, hoping to leave all the embarrassing moments behind him. God forbid that any of his London friends should find out.
One of Giles’ problems is that he left Daisy behind to her own devices. You see, Daisy likes to help others. She must! She must!
She must right wrongs! She doesn't care who she must help, she is oblivious to the niceties of society. She is also oblivious to the havoc she creates. Daisy is a delightful heroine. I found her humorous. She is not a TSTL heroine, and just because she is innocent to the things going on around her, doesn't mean she’s written as a farce. Some people may find her irritating, but I believe Ms. Balogh did a wonderful job of writing a refreshing heroine. When Giles, left he didn't know that Daisy was still going to help him. She pays his gambling debt, the innkeeper, and even the lady of the evening for him. Then Daisy and her sister leave the inn and journey on their way to London unaware of how angry Giles will be when he finds out what she's done.
Indeed, it doesn't take long for stuff to hit any nearby fan. Giles has sent his man to pay his debt, but the man returns and hesitantly tells Giles that everything has been paid -- even the barmaid's inflated fees. In the meantime, Daisy, who is 25, has brought her 19 year-old sister to London. Daisy believes she will make a wonderful chaperon for her beautiful sister. This is another example of Daisy's manner of thinking. She wants only the best for her sister, so she wants to introduce her to society in London. Even though they are wealthy, they really don't know anyone -- so when Giles shows up to confront her, Daisy sees this as a perfect opportunity to introduce her sister. Before Giles knows what is happening, he has promised that his aunt will introduce both Daisy and her sister to society. Of course, Daisy doesn't see the need for herself but she's willing to go through with it -- and, besides that wouldn't Giles make a perfect husband for her sister? Giles never has a chance; Daisy is a whirl-wind. It's a lot of fun watching Daisy right wrongs, save dogs, save prostitutes, and thwart kidnappers.
All of it was great fun, but along with the fun is Ms. Balogh's trademark slow-building of a love story between our two protagonists. This is a rare light-hearted Mary Balogh book and I highly recommend it.
Kay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.