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Download A Lady of Talent (Signet Regency Romance) epub

by Evelyn Richardson

Sebastian, Earl of Charrington, is betrothed to a suitable match, but dreams of a beauty in a painting. When he commissions the artist to paint his bride-to-be, he discovers that the work was a self-portait, and that the woman of his dreams is very real indeed.
Download A Lady of Talent (Signet Regency Romance) epub
ISBN: 0451210093
ISBN13: 978-0451210098
Category: Romance
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Evelyn Richardson
Language: English
Publisher: Signet; First Edition edition (February 1, 2005)
ePUB size: 1825 kb
FB2 size: 1917 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 862
Other Formats: mobi txt rtf lit

Years ago Sebastian, Earl of Charrington purchased a painting of a young woman in a print shop and the young woman in the painting quickly became his confidant and true companion and has in fact ruined any other woman for him. He's spent most of his adult years in business, working to regain the fortune his father lost. Now he is affianced to his mentor's only daughter, the beautiful Miss Barbara Wyatt. Barbara and Sebastian could not be more different: Barbara enjoys flirting and parties and longs to be part of the ton while Sebastian is more interested in intellectual pursuits. He feels that in a marriage of convenience, it doesn't matter much if the partners are not soul mates. As a betrothal gift, Sebastian hires a painter, C.A. Manners, whose paintings he admired at the Royal Academy, to paint Barbara. He is shocked to discover that C.A. Manners is a Miss Cecilia Manners and the woman in his painting! Cecilia loves painting more than anything and works hard at painting portraits to support her brother's expensive habits and to reclaim some of the cachet they lost when their father gambled away everything. Cecilia and Sebastian quickly become friends and confidants, discovering the passion and love that they've never known. However, Sebastian is engaged to Barbara and Cecilia is too proud and independent to rely on a man's help to solve her problems which of course creates more problems!

This is not the best of Richardson's novels. Sebastian comes across as creepy and kind of stalkerish. The young woman in the painting was only 12 at the time she painted herself and Sebastian fell in love with her picture! He didn't even try hard to find out who she was or whether she was really his ideal companion and when he did find her, he kept intruding on her privacy and trying to help her when they barely knew each other. They confide in each other too quickly and the solution is so painfully obvious that I didn't even really care about how it came about. Like all of Richardson's heroines, I admired Cecilia though she was more weepy and less independent than some of the others. Unlike most of Richardson's novels, this one doesn't get too bogged down in historical details which is a plus. Unless you feel compelled to read all her books, skip this one.
Sebastian, Earl of Charrington, has decided it's time to marry. For years, he's been in love with a woman in a painting, but he's finally convinced himself that no woman could live up to the image he's built up in his mind of who that woman is, and he's settling for Barbara, the daughter of his mentor and business partner.

Barbara is mostly concerned with fashion and parties and having a good time, and she doesn't love him any more than he loves her. Still, she's very beautiful, wants his title, and he doesn't expect anything more from marriage. His affection for her father quiets any other doubts he may have.

Then he commissions a portrait of Barbara by C. A. Manners, the same up-and-coming artist who painted the portrait he so admires, only to find out the "C" stands for Cecilia, and it's a self-portrait.

The Good:

You could really see that Sebastian and Cecilia fell in love with and respected each other, that it wasn't just a superficial attraction.

The fiancee, the woman standing in the way of their happiness, wasn't a vicious shrew. She wasn't suited for Sebastian's more serious nature, but she was a genuinely nice person.

The Bad:

The hero and heroine are both almost too good to be true--the secondary characters almost feel more real.

The Verdict:

If I were still of the opinion that I didn't care for Regency romances, A Lady of Talent would convince me otherwise.
Sebastian, Earl of Chattington, is entranced. The bad news? The lady in question is not his fiance. The good news? The lady in question is just a woman in a painting. The lady in the portrait is a vision of loveliness, and has been his muse. Whether she exists in real life or not, he knows he will never meet her. He decides to commision the painter of the mystery portrait, in hopes that he will catch the essence of his fiance.

The painter, however, is actually a "she." And it was actually a self-portrait. Which means, of course, he is about to meet the woman of his dreams--in the flesh!

The painter is Cecilia Manners, and painting is her passion. Intelligent and thoughtful, Cecilia has no idea that Sebastian is in possession of her self-portrait. And she takes Sebastian's fiance in immediate dislike. Will mutual attraction lead Cecilia and Sebastian to one another?

The good news? "A Lady of Talent" has an interesting storyline, and Evelyn Richardson seems to know the period better than most writers. The bad news? "A Lady of Talent" is very slowly-paced, takes much concentration, and the dialogue is a bit stilted. When the characters talk to each other, especially when they're talking about themselves, it hardly seems natural. It almost sounds like they're giving a speech. My criticism has nothing to do with the period. I've read countless Regencies that don't sound as stiff as this.

All in all, I'd give it 2 1/2 stars. If you can handle the grueling pace, the story is somewhat enjoyable.