Once a Dreamer

Written by Candice Hern
Review by Suzanne Sprague

As a young widow, Eleanor Tennant’s position in life is minding Belinda, her brother’s headstrong daughter. During Belinda’s first season in London in 1801, she falls in love with Geoffrey Barkwith, a dashing younger son with no fortune and a questionable reputation. Eleanor’s disapproval prompts Belinda to write to the Busybody, an advice columnist from a popular lady’s magazine. The Busybody tell her to follow her heart, so when Belinda and Geoffrey elope, Eleanor is furious and tracks down the Busybody for assistance in locating her errant niece. To her surprise, the Busybody is the romantic Simon Westover. Simon decides to fund the search and becomes Eleanor’s reluctant escort. Naturally, a mutual attraction develops.

Historical details and the politics of the day blend nicely with the romantic components of the novel. The arguments between Eleanor and Simon concerning the practicality of romanticism heighten the sexual tension and lead to the anticipated conclusion. An unexpected stop at an Oak Apple Day celebration and descriptions of the food procured to feed Simon’s huge appetite add to the fun. Hern’s latest historical romance novel sometimes moves slowly, but ultimately does not disappoint. Recommended for readers of romances.