Althea’s Grand Tour
This Regency-era romance, originally published in 1994, is about a headstrong, lonely woman named Althea Ingram. Her tall stature sets her apart from the other ladies of society, and she finds herself the butt of jokes. John Maitland, the handsome Earl of Montmorcy, called her an Amazon, an incident that Althea can never forget. Deciding that she needs time away, Althea seeks permission from her father to go on a Grand Tour. He obliges, but her widowed cousin and several companions must accompany her. While in Europe, Althea stumbles across none other than the Earl of Montmorcy, much to Althea’s chagrin. Throughout the course of her trip, Althea begins to fall for the Earl, though she is convinced he could never love a woman like her.
Unfortunately, there are several issues that are difficult to look past in this novel. The author repeatedly refers to Althea’s height to elicit sympathy, while her companion is constantly mocked for her weight. Mixed signals between Althea and John and unlikely plot scenarios abound. However, the author does a good job showing how women were confined by the rules of society during this time period, though this does not make up for an otherwise disappointing read.