Finally! I finally had a chance to read Ella Quinn’s debut novel! I’ve been waiting to read this one since well before it came out. Ella is a writer friend of mine (full disclosure) and I pretty much counted down the days until The Seduction of Lady Phoebe came out, then counted down more days as it rose up on my TBA list. At last!
Let me tell you, if you are even a little bit of a fan of the Regency genre, Phoebe will not disappoint! As I read through Phoebe and Marcus’s story, I swear I could hear Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer both doing a running commentary, you know, like they do on DVDs of great shows. Both ladies kept pointing out the delicious historical details and calling, “Bravo!”
I’ve gotten into several debates about historical accuracy with other writers, and even posted about it here on the blog myself. There are definitely degrees of accuracy and what a reader is willing to accept or let slide. But wow! Never have I seen a Regency novel that nails the time period so completely as Phoebe does. I knew that Ella had done her homework, but this proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt!
You can feel every detail of this book with your senses. Every sight and sound of Mayfair and the country, every detail of style and dress is there. The completeness of the description of means of transportation and breakfast foods and country air are fantastic. You don’t just read about this world, you become a part of it. It was really cool.
I like to focus my book reports not on being reviews of the work in question, but rather on what I learned from reading it. The biggest lesson I’m taking away from Phoebe is the importance of creating a rich world. It reminds me very much of the statement I once heard that world-building is not just something that happens in a fantasy series. It’s equally as important to build a complete, dimensional, tangible world in romance. Ella really does that here.
One of the things this book excels at is laying down the rules of the game and sticking to them. Right from the start, the shape and feel of the world Phoebe and Marcus inhabit is set out. I particularly liked that even the way the characters spoke defined the world of the novel. Whether it’s historical accuracy or sci-fi world order you’re trying to establish, for me the language of the characters is key. Both the dialog and the exposition in Phoebe made the world seem alive and tangible.
I also appreciate it when authors writing a series include characters who we will see in later books in earlier ones. I know Miss Anna March is the title character in the next book of the series, and it was great to see her playing a role in Phoebe’s story. I’m really hoping that Ella continues that in the future (as I’m sure she will).
All in all, definitely a fantastic voyage into a vibrant world.
Next up, something completely and utterly different!