To Love the Brooding Baron (Proper Romance Regency)

Written by Jentry Flint
Review by Ray Thompson

London, 1815. Arabella Latham is ‘searching for a spark’ which would signal she has found love. What she does not expect is to find it in the taciturn Henry Northcott, known amongst the ton as the Brooding Baron. She, by contrast, is lively and impulsive, but though they seem ill-matched, she has observed that he treats her with kindness and is willing to engage in her favourite game: identifying Shakespearian quotations. For his part, Henry is helplessly attracted to her, but because he fears he has inherited the madness he believes runs in his family, he decides never to marry. The obstacles seem insurmountable, but Arabella is very determined.

The plot grows rather bizarre and, during the rescue of Arabella from the insane asylum she has been caught trying to sneak into, it takes on gothic overtones. The effect is heightened by the exaggerated behaviour of the characters, notably Henry’s malevolent aunt, his frivolous friend Bradbury, and a corrupt doctor and his thuggish cohorts. Though Henry’s struggle with his conflicted feelings does grow tiresome, the insights into the impact of childhood trauma and the mistreatment of those condemned as lunatics are valuable.