Wednesday, August 19, 2009

19 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Viscount's Dilemma
GENRE: Historical romance (Regency-set, single-title)

The clock on the drawing room mantel ticked away the seconds loudly, and James drummed his fingers on his knee in time with it. Had it really been only ten minutes since that elderly butler had shown him in?

He leaned against the back of the sofa, rolling his shoulders in a vain attempt to release the tension that pulled at them. Good lord, there was nothing to worry about. He may have acceded to his title only a year before, but he’d grown up in the world of the ton. If he could handle hundreds of wagging tongues and marriage-minded mothers, he ought to be able to handle meeting his fiancée’s family for the first time.

He sat upright again and sighed. This was ridiculous. Giving up on relaxation, he stood up and strolled to the window, but his eyes could hardly take in the well-tended grounds.

He drew a deep breath. Of course it would all work out. He still didn’t know Louisa well, true. But she was poised and intelligent, a logical choice for his future viscountess.

She was devoted to her family, too. She had hinted that her relatives were unconventional, though she’d said it with such affection that he didn’t think she was truly embarrassed. Lord and Lady Oliver’s estate itself, after all, appeared perfectly normal.

In fact, he’d encountered nothing out of the ordinary yet, and he’d been here all of ten – no, fourteen – minutes.

And then the door slammed open with a bang.


  1. I felt his nervousness. A few sentences can be tightened. "too" after "family" is not necessary.

    I would definitely read more. Is he going to fall in love with a family member?

  2. I agree with rehea I felt his nervousness, but some sentences need tweaking. The following is an example. (Giving up on relaxation, he stood up and strolled to the window, but his eyes could hardly take in the well-tended grounds.)
    "his eyes could hardly take in" didn't make sense to me and I lost the jest of the story rereading it several times. Maybe try......
    Giving up on relaxation, he stood up and strolled to the window. His eyes took in the well-tended grounds.

  3. I loved this. I don't even have any criticisms. (And I don't even read historical romance -- especially of the Regency variety.)

  4. I really liked this. This is a more unusual setting for a Regency to begin, with him already engaged, and getting ready to meet her family. It interested me.

    The only drawback, that I caught, was that two two paragraphs about his fiance seemed contrived, or stuck in there. I found myself skipping those. I'm thinking I wouldn't have, if they'd been more guy-like, in how they were maybe a checklist in his head.

    (Also, the "Giving up on relaxation" pulled me out of his POV. We--especially guys--think in more straightforward sentences.)

    But I'd keep reading!

  5. I like this, but did wonder a little in the back of my head why he hadn't met her family yet. This at a time when your family connections were more important than love - especially if you are concerned about 'logical choices'. If he's social conscious, you'd have thought he studied the family tree all the way back to William Tell. :)

  6. I feel it could be tightened some more, bring the slamming door closer to the front. Also there are some adverbs you could get rid of. I probably wouldn't ask to read more.

  7. I agree it could be tightened, but I found it intriguing nonetheless. I'm hooked. And I don't read Historical much, either.

  8. I am hooked because I want to see if anything out of the ordinary DOES happen.

  9. I, too think it's a bit odd he hasn't met her family considering the social circumstances, but I liked this and am willing to go with it. Hooked!

  10. The writing could be tightened significantly, but there isn't anything majorly wrong with it.

    Still, I'd say 'not hooked' because there isn't anything here that stands out. It feels like the same old-same old. Sometimes, all you need to change that feeling is a different starting point. You might want to give that a try.

  11. I am chiming in with the posters who say the writing could be tightened.

    For example, I would change "The clock on the drawing room mantel ticked away the seconds loudly, and James drummed his fingers on his knee in time with it" to just "James drummed his fingers."

    Writing has much more impact when you cut out extra words.

    Still, it is an interesting beginning. Best wishes!

  12. "And then the door slammed open with a bang."

    I can't stop. Slammed open and bang in the same sentence?

    Why not just "And then the door slammed open."

    Good luck!

  13. I'm definitely in the market for Regencies and it's a great category in which to be writing, but this particular submission made me the think the writer is not ready for prime time. The language was wordy rather than tight and flavorful. I also wasn't sure a viscount would be meeting his in-laws for the first time in private, as opposed to at a house party. I'm not a fan of an opening in which the mc is waiting for something, because that sense of boredom seeps into my reading experience. It's passive rather than active. A fair start but not quite there.