The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl (Lady Travelers Society)

Written by Victoria Alexander
Review by Ray Thompson

Convinced that Mrs. Gordon’s popular novels based on her adventures in Egypt are total fiction written by someone who has never even been to the country, the Earl of Brenton challenges her to travel there to prove she knows what she is writing about. Unfortunately, the author, Miss Sidney Honeywell, only finds out later that the challenge has been accepted on her behalf by her (honorary) aunts. Yielding to their persuasions and pressure from her publisher, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip along with the three elderly aunts and the earl’s nephew. Since she based her novels on her grandmother’s journals and her own diligent studies of Egyptian archeology, she is knowledgeable, but can she deceive the nephew? As readers of Victorian romances might expect, they fall in love, but will their burgeoning relationship survive revelations on both sides?

This is a light-hearted adventure tale of the type popular in the era (Rider Haggard?), but its appeal benefits from the humorous literary subtext: the need for romance novels to heighten an often-pedestrian reality, in order to entertain as well as inspire readers. Recommended to those who enjoy a playful approach to the genre.