I won’t mince words here: this was a very, very bland book, not a single shred of personality to be found anywhere. The characters’ personalities and motivations are painfully simple: Kitty is the Scheming One Who Needs to Find a Husband, Lord Radcliffe is the Uptight One Who Wants to Foil Her Plans, Arthur is the Lovable Idiot Who Feels Abandoned by His Brother. And I would’ve forgiven it its simplistic characters if it maybe had some interesting character interactions or dynamics, but no, that’s nowhere to be found either. The plot is just kind of…there, moving us from one scene to the next, with little tension or excitement or literally anything that would make you invested in what’s going on.
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting tries to be a historical fiction and a romance, and succeeds at neither. It’s nowhere near immersive or detailed or atmospheric enough to really evoke its historical setting (Regency London), and its romance is so lackluster and poorly developed that it can barely even be called a romance. (The extent of the romantic development we get here is like two scenes where the characters talk about Deep Stuff and then next thing you know, they’re in love!) Altogether, my fundamental problem here is that this book lacks any kind of depth; it’s a very paint-by-the-numbers Regency “historical fiction” with a romance thrown in, and you can really feel that reading it. It feels very perfunctory, like it’s just going through the motions of its already very conventional plot. And I don’t mind “predictable” stories, but this one just gave me nothing to work with; no life, no layers.
Thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley.