Prelude for a Lord

Prelude for a LordPrelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot
Series: The Gentlemen Quartet
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Zondervan on August 05, 2014
Pages: 352

 

In Regency England, Lady Alethea is considered an oddity. Twenty-eight and unwed, she also plays the violin, an instrument that is considered most unladylike. She longs for the day that she can claim her inheritance and leave for Italy, where female violin players are accepted and celebrated. When it comes to light that her violin is unique and possibly coveted, she requests the help of Lord Dommick, a musical expert and talented musician himself.  In a time when appearance is everything and reputations can make or break the course of a person’s life, Lady Alethea and Lord Dommick must not only deal with the pressures of society, but also of a mysterious thief, who doesn’t mind stooping to dangerous dealings to get the violin. Add into this their own puzzling feelings about the other, and you’ve got a delicious blend of intrigue, mystery, danger and, romance.

I simply adored this story. The setting and the historical context are so well done.

The town of Bath, England and the society therein really comes to life in these pages.

So much stock is placed on reputation and gossip, not the truth, holds sway. Everyone minds their manners and does their best to avoid scandal, but some don’t mind indulging in rumors about their peers, nor being underhandedly cruel. Even so, once gained, loyalty from true friends is hard to lose. The customs and historical details of such a society are woven seamlessly throughout the story.

The characters are wonderful. Lord Dommick has his own reasons for being reluctant to get involved with Alethea, musically or romantically. He suffers from what today would be Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and as someone who has witnessed the affects first-hand, I found this to add such a great depth to the story. During this time, emotional trauma was not something that was spoken of or understood by “polite society.” Dommick has good reason to be reluctant to get involved with Alethea, musically or romantically, when his reputation has only recently recovered from the rumors of his madness. I applaud the author for tackling this tricky subject and in such a sensitive, well-thought way. A lot of fears are touched on in this story, specifically fear of what others think, fear of letting others close and fear of not being accepted by those you love.

Alethea has past trauma to overcome as well, but finds a welcome safety with Dommick and his friends and family. Though her aunt is a gruff lady, and her distant 12-year-old relative a handful, she finds contentment and happiness with them, all the while realizing that freedom in Italy may not be what she wants after all. Her spiritual journey was quite beautiful and thought-provoking.

The faith aspect of the story is woven nicely; I found it to be suited to the time period and realistic for Alethea’s character.

The secondary characters are lovely as well – from Alethea’s gruff Aunt Ebena, her precocious cousin Margaret, to Dommick’s family and his two bitingly witty friends. And the romance, oh, the romance! It so gently grows throughout the story and is reflective of the time period, yet so endearingly done. It truly was beautifully written. I also have to mention the beauty of the writing itself. I found the writing style to be expressive and utterly compelling. The descriptions of the music are almost poetic, and though there was no sound, I was able to hear it through the very words the author used.

I hope that there will be more stories to come from Camille Elliot. It is obvious that she knows the period well and every nuance of the time truly enhances the story.

I highly recommend Prelude for a Lord to fans of the Regency era, as well as fans of great historical fiction, and I cannot wait to see what the author pens next.

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