Mr. Bishop and the Actress by Janet Mullany
Author: Janet Mullany
Genre: Fiction (Historical / Regency)
Publisher/Publication Date: Little Black Dress (3/3/2011)
Source: Won from Risky Regencies
Did I finish?: Yes, and I even reread the last few chapters to revisit the awesome.
One-sentence summary: Proper Mr Bishop meets the decidedly improper Sophie Wallace and both pretend sparks aren't flying as they deal with family, troupes of actors, a wayward ward, and other obstacles in this Regency romp.
Reading Challenges: British Books, Historical Fiction
Do I like the cover?: Yes -- it's cute and fun (and matches her other books so adorably!)
I'm reminded of...: I'm not sure I've read another author like her!
First line: Sophie clung to the ladder, her face a pale oval in the dark as she looked up at the two girls peering out of the window.
Did... my wife kick me out of bed because I kept her up with my loud laughing, snickering, and chortling?: YES. I was banned from reading this after 9pm, unless I read it in the living room.
Did... I keep getting lost in this book every time I thumbed through it to find something to quote?: YES. I've just spent the last thirty minutes rereading rather than writing this review!
Is... this the sexiest book I've read that doesn't feature a sex scene?: YES. Sex scenes are certainly hinted at but the reader doesn't witness the action, and yet, the romance is still super steamy!
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy if you can -- sadly I suspect many libraries won't have this book but it's such a sweet treat, I recommend picking it up!
Why did I get this book?: I love regencies and I especially cracked up at the title, which is inspired by the English joke of adding "...as the actress said to the bishop," at the end of an otherwise banal sentence.
Review: June is always a rough month for me -- perhaps my busiest month work-wise as I gear up for a large annual conference. It's long days and late nights and a metric ton of stress and I rarely want to do anything but veg. This book, however, was the silly, comforting, and easy read I needed to unwind after an aggravating 16-hour work day. (It did, however, keep me up at night, snorting and giggling, much to my wife's deep sadness.)
Told in the alternating viewpoints of Sophie Marsden Wallace, an 'actress' and courtesan, and Harry Bishop, an upstanding and well-mannered steward for a Viscount, this novel manages to be romantic and hilarious in equal part. (In some places, it's practically slapstick.) Not only did I love Sophie and Harry, who are the unlikeliest-yet-most-lovely romantic pairing I've seen in a while, I adored literally every other character in this book. On the surface, the characters seem a bit predictable -- rakish Viscount, lovely ward, rapacious stage manager father -- and yet, Mullany gives each character enough of a twist to make them surprising, interesting, and fun.
A perfect summertime read for anyone who wants to giggle a great deal and sigh happily and escape the humdrum for a few hours.
*** *** ***
GIVEAWAY! I so loved this book I'm buying a copy to send to one lucky reader! Leave a comment with an email address to be entered. Open to US/international readers (if Book Depository ships to you). Closes 7/8. Come back on Wed, 6/22 for an interview with Janet Mullany and a chance for another entry!