Michele Ann Young's Regency novel No Regrets begins in a very interesting (and romantic) manner: Lucas Rivers, Viscount Foxhaven, rides his horse into the house where our heroine, Caroline "Caro" Torrington is secretly working and carries her off. The couple were childhood friends and Lucas cannot receive inheritance until he marries Caro, but she has stubbornly refused him. Caro, who could be called voluptuous, is very attracted to Lucas, who is rather a Rake, but doesn't believe he could ever find her beautiful. Finally, in order to provide give her sisters a stable financial future, Caro agrees to a marriage of convenience, which will be ended sometime in the future. They agree to "no regrets."
Along the way, Caro receives society-lessons from Lucas' friend's sister, meets a previously unknown French cousin, spends time with Lucas' Aunt Rivers and Cousin Cedric (who looks after a lot of Lucas' business), and tries to win Lucas' affections (though she has actually already done so).
Lucas, in reality, is very attracted to Caro, but does not want to violate their agreement or somehow ruin their longtime friendship. Unfortunately, Caro thinks she disgusts him. This leads to a variety of misunderstandings, including Caro believing Lucas has a mistress. Though the couple grows closer, Caro believes she is doing Lucas a favor by leaving him and traveling to France with her cousin to visit French relatives. Lucas follows her there, but when Caro is kidnapped (or has she voluntarily decided to remarry?), he must decide how he really feels about her. I don't want to spoil the rest of the story, so I will stop there.
I really enjoyed reading No Regrets. It is a well-written and interesting Regency. Young did an excellent job incorporating the proper period elements and crafting a tension-filled love story. Lucas is a very attractive hero, with his dark hair and "chocolate" eyes (yum!). Caro is a woman we can all relate to because she really struggles with her self-esteem and believes herself to be completely unattractive, especially to Lucas. The secondary characters add a lot to the tale, especially Caro's lady's maid Lizzie. She's hilarious.
Fortunately, this book is on the long side (for a Regency), which means the reader gets to enjoy it a little bit longer. Lucas and Caro's difficulties in communicating their true feelings are frustrating---to the characters and to the reader---but that works in this story because the reader understands what they are going through. Obviously Lucas and Caroline have long-held and deep feelings for each other. As we all know, though, sometimes it is hard to express such important emotions to the most important people in our lives.
I highly recommend No Regrets by Michele Ann Young. I had never read any of her work before, but I have visited her blog, Regency Ramble, numerous times before I received No Regrets. I do hope you will find No Regrets at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.
Book Information: No Regrets by Michele Ann Young (Sourcebooks Casablanca; ISBN: 1-4022-1016-7; $6.99; 384 pages; paperback)