The Undoing of a Lady
By Chris
Aug 16, 2009 - 9:28:12 PM

Lady Elizabeth Scarlet is scandalously renowned for her spitfire, rebellious attitude; only slightly less known are her harebrained schemes, which usually result in her being bailed out of trouble by her old friend, Nathaniel, the Earl of Waterhouse.  Others would say “hoyden” is the more apt descriptor for her.  True to her incorrigible character, Lizzie has surmised the only way to save her friend from marriage to a dim-witted heiress, thereby saving him from himself, is to kidnap him. 

Aghast at the extremes Lizzie has gone to ensure he misses his own wedding; Nate accuses her of secretly wanting him for herself!  In his taunting of her childishness, Nate attempts to undermine Lizzie by telling her she’s incapable of following through with her seduction.  And in doing so, awakens an even wilder passionate Lizzie, all together ruining her.  What Nate is unaware, however, is that he’s also aroused Lizzie’s heart; for now she knows there will never be another man for her.  All she has to do now is convince Nate that she’s the only woman for him.

The third and final installment of the Brides of Fortune series, THE UNDOING OF A LADY is the deliciously decadent conclusion to a scrumptiously sexy, savvy series.

Lizzie is rich and beautiful, an honorable spoiled brat who acts outrageously, and yet is perpetually well-meaning.  Interestingly, for all her shocking displays, she’s incredibly emotionally guarded.  When first we meet Lizzie, it’s her off-the-cuff commentary, ever-ready attitude for all things scandalously fun, and flirtatious, ostentatious, bawdy humor that steal the scene.  The real Lizzie, however, is infinitely more complex; because we learn that for almost every barmy performance, the driving force stems from a painful childhood steeped in loneliness.  Her pain, fear and depth of emotion under a carefree guise are executed so effortlessly that it just “makes sense.”  The reader is incapable of staving off the affinity that emerges with Lizzie, because in many ways, Lizzie’s pain, much like her determination, and sheer desperation reaches fanatical intensity.  Such tortured love brings to mind the emotional parallels between Lizzie and Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's “Wuthering Heights.”  It’s heart-rending, to say the least.  For certain, just like Heathcliff, Lizzie makes the reader most comfortable in the “emotional extremes.”  

As for Nate... detached and responsible Nate... it’s uncanny how every scene sizzles!  Yet, for all his raging lust, the reader will still want to flog the self-righteousness out of him.  Or at least throw him into a riotous melee to get his head served back to him (as if that were enough!).  It’s a long, torturous road before the reader will see him Lizzie-worthy, but make no mistake, the Nate-Lizzie happy ever after is worth ten times the price of the book.

Nicola Cornick’s THE UNDOING OF A LADY is the spectacular culmination to the Brides of Fortune series.  A book worthy of the highest acclaim, a Regency series of the highest caliber, if you haven’t bought it yet – get thee to a bookstore!

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