Sep 8 2011 9:30am

Groups of Fascinating Men: Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons

Miss Wonderful by Loretta ChaseAs 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.

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

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.”

Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase

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, and on Twitter  @Myretta

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Astrid
I remember the scene with Rupert so well although it's been a while since I've read the book! (I do remember all of the scenes but I remember laughing hard at Rupert's)

Loretta Chase really is something else.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
Rupert is a wonderful hero. He is my favorite of this series, though I have to confess a fondness for Ainswood from "The Last Hellion". Then again, I love all of Ms. Chase's heroes. Count me in as a Chase fan(atic).
3. mochabean
Oh I love Alistair -- Miss Wonderful was my favorite, probably because the "she's annoying, she's impossible, I can't stop thinking about her hair" trope is one I adore, and it was even better there because Mirabel was having the same reaction to Alistair's dandified ways. And the Carsington heroes are not as overbearingly alpha as others. (I'm looking at you, Cynsters. I love you too, though).
4. Janga
Benedict is my favorite, but I love all the Carsington brothers--even Darius, whose story doesn't quite measure up to the others. The series is among my favorite rereads.
Myretta Robens
5. Myretta
@bungluna I'm with you on Vere Mallory. Rupert nudged him off the top of my list.
Myretta Robens
6. Myretta
@Janga. I loved Not Quite a Lady (Darius's book). But I think that it's really primarily Charlotte's story and, while it doesn't measure up as a Carsington-centric book, it's still a great story.
Louise Partain
7. Louise321
One of my favorite rereads too, Janga. I love how Mirabel is always ambushing Alistair, clubbing him in the head with her sly attacks even as she slides into love with him. I love how Rupert clangs heads together and threatens to throw people out the window when the result of actually doing so makes him sick. I love how he is loves the scent of Daphne and the Egyptian "Come here" that enthralls him. And I love the scene with Miles described here. Most of all I love two scenes in Lord Perfect: the scene after the battle with drunks where Bathsheba (what a perfectly wonderful name for a "Dreadful Delucey) is astonished when Benedict, Lord Rathbuorne, falls apart with hysterical laughter; and when he climbs into the library window to confront her after Bathsheba locks him out while she is negotiating with his father to leave him. Darius' book was more about the Lady Charlotte but it still had that Carsington man in it. I especially loved how Darius first knew the he looked at Charlotte's son because he couldn't keep his hat on.

It has been a delight to revisit old friends recently with Last Night's Scandal which is Victorian. Actually Alistair was wounded at Waterloo, so the series spans the Regency to the Victorian era.
Yvonne Devine
8. Beebs
Another huge Chase fan, my favourite Carsingtons are Rupert and Darius.
I love Ainswood but the hands down winner of all romance has to be Dain.
There are just so many wonderful scenes in that book.
9. Kim in Hawaii
I prefer the Carsington Brothers to Ms. Chase's other books (that are lauded by critics). Then again, I claim to be one of Ms. Chase's few fans that have traveled to her two exotic locales - Egypt and Albania!
10. NEF In SA
Mr. Impossible is just about perfect: a heroine whose smart, capable, resourceful and yet truly does need the hero's help & a hero who realizes she's smart, capable, resourceful and actually listens to her. Plus it has a great locale, engaging secondary characters....I probably read this book three times a year.
11. Aryn
I sigh over Sebastian, the Lord of Scoundrels. She standing in the rain beating him with her bonnet until he takes NOTICE of her. And his: *so shoot me*. And she DOES.
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