One thing I love about reading Jane Austen and JAFF is learning more about Regency history. Other than a hilarious Blackadder Series 3 I had very little knowledge of this particular era (and certainly that “knowledge” was rather specious, to say the least). Along with the history I’ve learned from the stories themselves, they’ve inspired me to expand my own researches. So I like to sometimes go beyond Jane Austen and delve into various other aspects of the Regency. When The Four Lords collection went on sale last year I grabbed it up, and when the author asked me to review it I was delighted!
This tale, set in Regency England, is in fact four stories in one. It chronicles the lives of four handsome twenty-something debauched lords living a life of alcohol, gambling, and seducing anything in a skirt. They while away their time at their London club not caring for their futures beyond which lady they next intend to lure into their beds, while mocking the “leg-shackled” fools who prefer family life – including their own parents and families.
And then something changes: we follow the lords as one after the other they meet the women who will change their viewpoints and their lives as they fall in love, marry, and start families of their own. And we watch their growing understanding of what life, and family, are really all about.
Because of their reputations as degenerates, the lords often have some difficulty integrating back into polite society, so their lives are not so easily transformed. They in fact have to prove themselves worthy of their lady loves. How they manage this is often painful and often amusing.
I greatly enjoyed seeing how each man is “tamed” by the love of a good woman. It may sound trite, but let’s face it: the romantic in us loves the challenge and its ultimate success! Who amongst us has not fantasized about being the lady who turns a bad boy into a good man?
(Unrelated to the books, here’s a musical take on this theme.)
Each lord’s story is intertwined with the others, and although you could probably read them as separate books I believe it was more enjoyable to read the collection all together.
What I liked best: The skillful interweaving of each story into the next and subsequent stories. One plot line begun in the first story reaches its resolution in the fourth story. By using the device of repeating the end of one story into the beginning of the next, the author allows the reader to in fact enjoy each story separately if they choose. As I much preferred to read the whole saga at one time, I found the repetition of certain salient events helpful as both a foreshadowing of what was to come as well as a reminder of what had already occurred.
The horses. Most of the characters shared an interest in horses, and I really liked all of the “horse talk.” Hey, what girl doesn’t love horses?!
What I liked least: I’m sorry to say that I did not care for the story of the fourth lord at all. I could not muster any sympathy for the characters; I found them to be quite prickly. I did not care for their situations either, and had a difficult time suspending disbelief about many of them. Perhaps people do respond to childhood trauma as described, and their loved ones in turn do respond to them as described, but I just couldn’t buy it. Too bad; I really liked the stories of the first three lords. Except for the resolution referred to above, I would have been happy for the saga to end after the third lord’s story.
For this reason, I give the saga four stars out of five.
In short: There is in fact Regency life outside of Jane Austen Fan Fiction, and it’s very satisfying to have tasted a bit beyond that particular genre. Not that I’ll be abandoning JAFF, but this saga has convinced me to take another chance to step outside it again.
Be warned that there are a great many sexual situations in this story; no explicit sexual encounters but plenty of suggestive “almosts.”
These links are for the complete collection. Individual volumes are available separately.
Paperback version at amazon.com
A freebie for readers of Every Savage Can Dance and The Four Lords’ Saga:
Lord Windmere and Lady Jane back story. This is the first lord in the series and my favourite lord. You’ll want to pick this up to learn about their history together. It’s quite a charming read! And very short: Make yourself a pot of tea, sit back, and enjoy — you’ll finish the story and the tea at about the same time.
Connect with Gianna Thomas at:
And … if you haven’t already got your copy of Desperate Hearts, you can order a kindle copy here. (Coming soon for Nook.)
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4 thoughts on “Regency beyond Jane Austen: The Four Lords Saga by Gianna Thomas. A review and a freebie!”
Love the fact that these stories are all interconnected,and storylines that begin in the first book will end in another book!
I’m glad you enjoyed reading of these bad boys being tamed by the love of a good woman even if the last story was your least favourite.
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Hi Janis. Thanks for bringing this series to our attention. I love a good multi-book saga to get my teeth into! I’ve just been over to Amazon and grabbed a copy of the freebie story. Do you recommend reading at least the first book before or after it?
Don’t you just love Blackadder the Third? I love all of the episode titles and just the whole incongruity of it all!
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BlackAdder3 was my favourite long before I even knew what the Regency was all about. I still think about it and smile every time I lose sock or two. LOL! Then again, “Who’s Queen?” and beating the stuffings out of Colin Firth was quite amusing too.
Anji, I’m sure you’ll like this saga (okay, I’m sure about three out of four, but who knows — you may like the fourth one too). Yes, you might want to read Lord Windmere’s tale before the back story. There are some amusing references to their history together and you wouldn’t want to know *too* much about them too soon, would you?
Do let me know how you like it when you’ve finished, won’t you?
[…] I truly look forward to reading. One of those authors is Gianna Thomas. Ever since devouring her The Four Lords Saga in record time, I’ve been […]