Brynnde by M. Pepper Langlinais is a regency romance about a young woman who is eligible for marriage, but knows that her appeal will far pale in comparison to that of her stuck-up younger sister Tessa. Nevertheless, Brynnde’s personality ends up outshining Tessa’s beauty, winning friendships as well as love.
This was a delightful read. Brynnde weaves together elements of regency romance that each strongly harken back to Jane Austen: mostly the titular character’s match-making efforts that disregard herself, which are strongly evocative of Emma, but I also saw the missed opportunities of Persuasion and the intrafamilial tension of Pride and Prejudice. Added onto these elements is Brynnde’s very modern character. She will not be sitting at home waiting for the men to do something—this heroine will be out there on her horse in men’s clothes, doing her part.
But what really sold this to me was the sort of love being depicted. The major drawback of a regency romance is, typically, that two people must fall in love in a series of crowded or chaperoned settings, in very little time. In this book, Brynnde and her love interest Garrick find a comfortable friendship, wherein they can be themselves and at ease. When Brynnde complains to Garrick of a man her father’s age who has asked her hand in marriage, Garrick proposes. Brynnde accepts, seeing this proposal as a practical decision rather than a romantic one. She and Garrick get along, and she has become good friends with his sisters. What more could she ask for?
The story truly kicks into action when the engagement is called off, thanks to a scandal involving Garrick’s brother.
The slow realization that Brynnde goes through over the course of the book, realizing that perhaps the comfort and ease she feels might be love after all, was an absolute joy. This slow, easy, unassuming love is so rarely depicted in our stories at all, and I was beyond pleasantly surprised to find it here.
I highly recommend this book to fans Eva Ibbotson, fans of Jane Austen who would like to see her heroines a little more proactive, as well as anyone who just wants a pleasant romance to curl up with.
Tomorrow, I’ll be publishing an interview with the author, M. Pepper Langlinais! Stay tuned!