Sunday, September 26, 2010

Random Romance Sunday: Inside The Actor's Studio

The Book: Miss Billings Treads the Boards by Carla Kelly

The Particulars: Traditional Regency romance, Signet, 1993, Out Of Print

The Blurb:

Playing a Perilous Part

Miss Katherine Billings was cast in a most unlikely role for a vicar's daughter. But beautiful Kate was an impoverished orphan--and her only escape from a lecherous employer's embraces was to go upon the stage. It was dangerous enough that a charming French playwright wanted her as his leading lady, and an ambitious impresario demanded that she bare her charms to an eager audience. But when a magnificent marquess, Lord Henry Grayson, proposed that she join him in a masquerade of mating in a mock marriage, Kate found that putting on an act in public could be even more perilous in private...if the act was an act of love....

Is It In Wendy's TBR?: Brace yourselves - no, I've actually read it!

Any Reviews?: In a review that honestly read more negative than positive to me, All About Romance gave this one a B:
Even though this is not Carla Kelly's best book (Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind and Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand are my own favorites), it still is a novel worth reading. Unfortunately it has been out of print for years, but if you can lay hands on a copy, you are in for an unusual and, for the greatest part, enjoyable Regency Romance.
And that's really about it - other than a few customer reviews over at Amazon.

Anything Else?: As I mentioned, I've actually read this book. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) for you all - I read it pre-blogging days, so no review. I have a vague memory of reading it while traveling, and I suspect it was when I went to Denver in 2002 for RWA (my first conference and I only attended the Librarians Day event and the Literacy Signing).

A few things I remember about this book? The hero is going bald, Kelly put a lot of "story" in this book without making it feel "overstuffed" and I found it quite charming. Not fantastic. Not OMG Bestest Book Evah! SQUEEEEE!!1!1!! - but charming. I read very few trads, but when I read this one I kinda "got" why so many fans of the sub genre rave endlessly about Kelly. I don't exactly remember the hero being selfish (as some of the reviews suggest) and I don't remember being bothered by the "coincidences" that the AAR reviewer points out - so obviously it worked for me.

Or else I did notice these issues at the time and they didn't bother me enough for those moments to stick in my memory some 8 years later.

And before any desperate Kelly fans ask - the copy I read is no longer in my possession. Otherwise I would be tempted to sell it to the highest bidder....

5 comments:

Rosie said...

Catching up on roughly a month of your posts. Sounds like you are having a good time in MI and NC. Can't wait to catch up in person. Oh and we need to discuss THE EXPENDABLES. I went with the testosterone laden neanderthals I live with...

Phyl said...

Sigh. I'd be a bidder, too. This is the only Kelly I've never read.

Kath said...

Thanks for keeping the RRS faith up while you travel. I've been checking every Sunday even while on the road. Hope this Biltmore weekend is even better than you hoped it would be.

Wendy said...

Rosie: I had a fabulous vacation, but I'm glad to be home. I was gone for 10 days! Eep!

Phyl: I want to say I sold my copy for around $10 back in 2002. Of course, who can remember now? Consensus seems to be "nice but not Kelly's best." It was my first read by Kelly, and I rather liked it....

Kath: It was easy to write up posts and schedule them ahead of time. Now to dig up something for the first Sunday in October!

Susan/DC said...

As I recall he wasn't going bald but was a bit pudgy, although as he traveled with the heroine and the theatrical troupe he lost weight. Might not be the best Carla Kelly but all her books are worth reading. I've got my copy of this one in a box somewhere; perhaps I should pull it out for a reread.