Gaelen Foley: Lord of Ice

Damien Knight, a former soldier who recently received the title "Earl of Winterley", suddenly finds himself named guardian to a fellow officer's and friend's ward. He thinks Miranda FitzHubert is a small girl who can stay at a boarding school, but instead she's a nubile young woman. He wants her to find a husband, but at the same time, he'd like to keep her for himself. If only he wasn't going mad...

This is definitely one of the historical romances whose history is no more than wallpaper. Very thin and threadbare wallpaper at that. I enjoyed the book despite, but not because of, that fact. For example, Miranda is easily accepted by nearly all members of the high society, even though she's the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and an actress. One of the (female) characters suggests that they go ice skating, because it's "good excercise", and on Christmas Eve, they sing "Silent Night, Holy Night" - even though this Christmas carol was performed for the first time in 1818 (it took me about 1 minute to find this out on wikipedia.de) and the book is set in 1814 - 1815. And then, there's the ice. I don't mean ice cream. I mean ice cubes. At one point, Miranda pretends to have twisted her ankle in order to be able to leave the ballroom with Damien, and he asks her if she needs some ice. People didn't have refrigerators at this time, they didn't even have electricity and I think it's extremely unlikely that they would have put ice cubes in their drinks - it would have been more believable if Damien had asked Miranda if he should get her some snow from outside to cool her twisted ankle. Despite all these facts, I enjoyed the book. Damien is a tortured hero, but he has a good reason to be, and he is only very rarely cruel to Miranda and other people. Miranda herself is no doormat - I despise doormat heroines - but not overly stupid and feisty either. I like the fact that she wants to help her former schoolmates, but isn't so selfless that she doesn't want to have a good life for herself. And she does realize that this good life can be gained much easier by accepting her guardian's wealth than by becoming an actress - which is a no-brainer in real life, but obviously not so easy to unterstand to the myriad of stupid romance novel heroines out there. All in all, this is a "good" book (Grade B)