Callie has no intentions of marrying. After three disappointing engagements that left her a spinster at 27, she's officially 'on the shelf'. This suits her just fine. No more parties. No more awkward conversations. She can spend more time with her prize winning animals.
Then Trevelyn, the duc de Monceaux, returns after nine years in France. Callie remembers the day he left. Her father found them in a compromising position in the carriage house. Now she wonders if he still feels the way he did all those years ago.
Unbeknownst to Callie, Trevelyn hasn't lead a exemplary life in France. In fact, the lower profile he keeps the better. He wouldn't even be back if it wasn't for his poor sick mother. But now that he's returned, those old feelings for Callie are coming back just as strong as before. How can he give her what she deserves when he's on the run?
Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale is a Regency romance with more cowbell. Literally. There's a big beast of a bull involved in the plot and it's not Trevelyn. Hubert the bull and his adventures not only add humour to the story but give the lovers a reason to run around in disguise. Because running around in disguise is Zexy.
I've never read any books by Laura Kinsale but from the comments of other reviewers this is lighter than her other books. It is a really sweet story of old lovers rediscovering each other. The chemistry between Callie and Trevelyn was believable and I enjoyed their banter. I loved Callie. She has this complex after being dumped three times but it doesn't make her change herself. She's still true to who she is.
Kinsale doesn't shy away from reality though when it comes to the life of a spinster. Callie's life changed for the worse after the death of her father. She was no longer the mistress of her own home. Instead, her cousin's wife takes her place and makes her feel like a burden. Yet Callie can do nothing except bite her tongue. The new mistress of Shelford Hall could toss her out anytime she pleases and Callie would have no legal rights to stay. Even her farm animals she loved and cared for weren't her own.
Even though I enjoyed so many aspects of the novel, I found parts near the end of the story dragged and wanted Kinsale to wrap it up. 400+ pages was a bit too much. Still, eventually everything came together and a happy ending was achieved.
Recommended for romance readers.
Thanks to Sourcebooks for the review copy.