As I may have noted earlier, I love large groups of handsome, sexy, Georgian or Regency men. Today, I’m going to add “Victorian” to my selection. Otherwise, how could I write about the Carsington brothers, who are more Victorian than Regency? And write about them I will.
What do the Carsingtons have in common with my other favorite groups of Romance heroes? Well, each one is a unique character. No two are alike and all are delightful in different ways. But enough redundancy, let me tell you about my three favorites.
The Carsingtons are the five sons of the Earl of Hargate and we meet them (or at least one of them) in Loretta Chase’s Miss Wonderful. Our hero is Alistair Carsington, veteran of Waterloo (at which he was wounded and accounted a hero), lover of women, and impeccable dresser. Well, sure. There’s more to Alistair than that, but we don’t learn about it until he meets Mirabel Oldridge, who seems to be designed by God to make Alistair crazy. Mirabel has no sense of fashion and seems to spend most of her day disheveled. She has more important things on her mind than how she looks. Moreover, she has discovered that by looking messy she is able to distract Alistair from his mission, which is to convince the local landowners to allow his friend to build a canal through their property.
Early in the book, Mirabel meets Alistair at the inn in which he’s staying:
Alistair turned away and stared unseeingly out the window while he counted to ten. “Miss Oldridge, I must tell you plainly that you make me want to tear my hair out.”
. . .
“Why do I make you want to tear your hair out?”
Alistair gazed at her in exasperation. The loosened coil had slid to within a quarter inch of her ear.
He straightened away from the window, marched to the table, swept up a handful of pins, and advanced upon her. “You’ve lost most of your hairpins,” he said.
“Oh, thank you.” She put out her hand.
He ignored the outstretched hand, took up the offending braid, coiled it up, set it back where it belonged, and pinned it in place.
And so it begins, ending, naturally, at the altar.
Alistair’s story is followed by the story of my true love, Rupert Carsington, in Mr. Impossible. Rupert is an entirely different sort of man, fun-loving, adventurous, wicked sense of humor, very little interest in women’s clothes except for getting them out of them, and considered by most who know him to be as dumb as an ox. Sent to Egypt by his father, ostensibly to keep him out of trouble, Rupert falls in love with a scholar. Fortunately for him, Daphne Pembroke’s scholarly exterior is not all there is to her. The “famously untamable scapegrace” Rupert Carsington, after spending a harrowing journey with Daphne Pembroke, lauds Daphne’s beauty, bravery and wisdom to her brother, Miles.
“I’ll be hanged,” Miles said. “You really are in love with her.”
The black eyes regarded him steadily. Then they regarded the cabin ceiling. Then the window. Then they came back to him.
“Do you know,” Carsington said mildly, “I’ve been wondering what it was.”
From Rupert, we move on to the eldest brother, Benedict Carsington, Viscount Rathbourne. Benedict is called Lord Perfect by his brothers (not to mention other members of society). He is aptly named, never putting a foot wrong until he meets Bathsheba Wingate, at which time he seems to abandon all good sense and goes on a madcap road trip with her, trying to catch up with his nephew and her daughter, who have run away in search of treasure. During this trip, the pair uses a variety of names gleaned from Jane Austen: introducing themselves, variously, as the Dashwoods, The Bennets and the Woodhouses.
At the end, after all is straightened out and Lord Rathbourne is finally free to return to his ordered and perfect life, he, instead, stands in the garden and throws pebbles at Bathsheba’s chamber window until she comes down to join him. In a stroke, Lord Perfect abandons all for love:
She had warmed him from the start. He hadn’t realized how cold he was until he felt her warmth. He hadn’t realized how empty he was until she’d taken hold of his heart and filled it.
“I love you,” he said. “They may all go to blazes. If no one will take the trouble to see what you are really like, if they will drive you out of England, then I shall go with you.”
These three are quite enough for any red-blooded, romance-reading, interesting-man-loving woman. Well, they’re quite enough for me. I’m sure it’s no secret that Loretta Chase is one of my favorite authors and now you know some of my favorites of her heros.
Myretta is the co-founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, www.myrettarobens.com and on Twitter @Myretta