Book Review of Ode to a Dead Lord by Jolie Beaumont
Reviewer: Miguelina Perez
Ms. Beaumont’s Ode to a Dead Lord is a brilliant story about murder, deception, and love. Young Lord Ashe is found dead – an apparent suicide. However, there are others who believe that he was murdered, including his now penniless widow, Lady Charlotte Ashe.
Prior to marrying Lord Ashe, Charlotte was the granddaughter of a wealthy tradesman. Wanting to buy his granddaughter a title, something that was often done in Regency period, he approves of her choice for a husband and settles all of her fortune irrevocably on the young man.
Ms. Beaumont’s Charlotte is wealthy unlike Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) the Misses Bennets of Pride and Prejudice and the Misses Dashwoods of Sense and Sensibility who were either in danger of being left penniless or left with very little to manage in a male dominated society.
Ms. Beaumont underlines the simplicity of the story with social issues of the Regency period that affected both men and women. Many of these women’s fortune, upon marrying, were automatically turned over to their husbands.
Beaumont complicates the story further by adding a male’s perspective; like Austen’s Willoughby of Sense and Sensibility, who is threatened by a distant aunt to marry well or risk being left penniless should he settle on Miss Marianne Dashwood. Ms. Beaumont brings us Mr. Theo Bryght. Mr. Bryght, nee Nathaniel Clermont, is the younger son of the fifth Earl of Warrington. Unlike Willoughby, who would rather lose the woman he loves for the comforts that wealth could bring him, Clermont chooses to go against his father’s wishes – to join the clergy.
Clermont is disowned. The uniqueness of Beaumont’s hero and what separates him from Willoughby lies in his belief that ‘to thine own self (he must) be true’. He would rather risk the comforts of living well than to risk his self-worth and integrity. Needing to earn an income, Nathaniel Clermont becomes a Bow Street Runner – a member of London’s professional police force. Ms. Beaumont uses Clermont to show that women were not the only ones in Regency period who were often left penniless and thus had to find another means of earning their living.
Ode to a Dead Lord is well written and flows easily while several story lines are interwoven. Ms. Beaumont ties all loose ends except for the relationship between Theo Bryght and Charlotte Ashe. One can only hope (I know I am hoping) that she intends to bring us a sequel, where both Theo Bryght and Charlotte end up together – though they do go as far as admitting to themselves how they feel about the other. I think that Ms. Jolie Beaumont is sitting on wondrous gold mine of untold stories about Mr. Theo Bryght and his future investigations alongside his lady love, Charlotte Ashe. Reading about these bow street runners, I think of Ms. Anne Perry’s Victorian period hero of the “Inspector Pitt” series.
For more on Miss Beaumont you can visit her at her website. For a copy of Ode to a Dead Lord, please click on the book cover below.
Meet the Reviewer
Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney. Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.
Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Currently, she is editing the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust.” Her next project is a contemporary romance thriller called “A Hero of Her Own.”
You can read Miguelina's column the 3rd Saturday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.