When I went to the supermarket today and browsed the magazine shelves, the latest release in CORA’s Lords & Ladies line caught my eye: DER SILBERBARON by Mary Brendan. It didn’t attract my attention only because of its lovely cover (and the cover is lovely, isn’t it?), but also because several years ago I read and hugely enjoyed the English original.
THE SILVER SQUIRE is one of the books I bought during my eight-months stay in Galway, where I got to know a completely new version of rain: one which renders umbrellas useless and has you soaked to the skin whenever you step in front of the door even if you wear a wax jacket that reaches to your mid-thigh. As I didn’t fancy to go sightseeing in the rain (and getting wet all through), I spent a lot of time reading. Within three or four days of my arrival I had found out the locations of all UBS in Galway and from then on browsed them at least once a week (the frequency of my shopping sprees depended on the rain — sometimes the rain was so bad that even a trip to the cornerstore to buy some food seemed excessive. Hey, it’s perfectly possible to survive on cereals or toast for a day or two! *g*).
One of my new friends, Ann, got me hooked on Mills&Boon novels fairly early during my stay, and to my neverending delight I found that most UBS in Galway offered a good supply of M&B books. It was difficult, though, to snatch many Regency novels — these seemed to be among the most popular romances in town. Nevertheless, I was able to get hold of quite a few, among them Margaret Moore’s wonderful THE WASTREL as well as Mary Brendan’s THE SILVER SQUIRE (which I bought on 18 January 2001, to be exact).
THE SILVER SQUIRE is part of a quartet of Regency novels. This is what the “Dear Reader” letter in the front of the book tells us about them:
“Bad Boys can be fascinating. With this in mind I decided to write about some, and the result is a quartet of Regencies that commenced with MR TRELAWNEY’S PROPOSAL. [Got that one, too! 🙂 ] The novels feature heroes, linked by family or friendship, who are definite rogues. Wickedly charming, wryly humorous, dangerously attractive … good girls can’t resist them. […] Sir Richard Du Quesne is […] predatoryy and disreputable in THE SILVE SQUIRE, and relentlessly pursues unassuming spinster Emma Worthington … until she catches him and brings him very willingly to his knees.”
*happy sigh* Doesn’t this sound simply delicious? And the story is just as sweet and delicious as this letter to the reader suggests. And while I can’t exactly remember the whole story, I still remember several charming scenes (I guess this is due to the fact that I almost never re-read a whole book, but do re-readings of my favourite scenes and passages instead). The “hooray-we’ve-finally-figured-out-that-we-love-each-other” scene in THE SILVER SQUIRE is certainly among my favourite in romancelandia. Look here. It all starts with:
“Why are you here?” she asked […].
“You know why, Emma,” he mildly reproved. “The first time we met in Bath you fled. You’ve not stopped running since and I’ve not stopped chasing you from place to place.” He drew deeply on the cigar again then pitched it towards the grate. “But no more.”
And then it’s hunch time:
“You’re my future. I love you. And I know you love me.”
“How do you know?” whispered out of her.
“You could have run the other way,” he said, with a quirk of a smile. “But you didn’t. You ran at me because you trusted me … because you loved me.”
Their eyes locked timelessly, then, because she knew it was all truth, because he never lied, the tears finally spilled and her joy frothed into an explosive sob that squeezed tight her eyes.
Richard approached her slowly, stopped inches away. “Say you love me or I won’t hold you,” he threatened softly.
She leaned into him, crying.
“Say it!” erupted in a pleading growl.
“I love you …” she wailed, and was lifted off the ground and crushed to a broad, muscular torso. Fair and tawny hair mingled as he bent close, soothing her, while spinning them around in sheer thankful happiness.
Ooooooh, lovely! 🙂
There’s also a heroine-bathing-the-hero scene, in which he lets her inspect all his various scars — He continued teaching her about his body via the wounds he’d sustained over the years. — and because the novel is part of a mini-series, we also meet some of the main characters of the other novels, most notably David and Victoria from A KIND AND DECENT MAN (yup, I’ve got that one, too!). One of their scenes contains some of the cutest lines I’ve ever found in romance:
Victoria smiled contentedly down at him. “He is so like you. And Emma is like me. All she wants is Richard. She’d take him as a pauper.”
“I know. So does he. But it won’t stop him wanting to give her the sun … the moon … the stars …”
Victoria placed her hands on her husband’s broad, naked shoulders. They slid over his cool, solid flesh, then she pushed him down onto the bed and flopped on top of him. “Oh, that’s impossible, David!” she giggled as she enveloped him in silky, rose-scented skin and hair. “You already gave those to me …”
If you like Regencies, I can highly recommend Mary Brendan’s novels.