I enjoyed Lord of Pleasure, though it took me some while to figure out why. I decided it’s because it is a charming story.
I really felt for Lord Wainwright when I first met him. He couldn’t seem to do anything that didn’t get his name in the scandal sheets. He didn’t even have to try. He was like the little lad who always ends up at the Headmaster’s office saying, “I didn’t mean to, sir, it just sort of happened.”
So now, he is trying to be respectable and keep his nose clean. Well, you can bet that means all sorts of traps and snares await him.
Except, they don’t.
He meets Lady X at the masquerade ball (and by the way, why is he attending a scandalous event when he is trying to keep his nose clean?). From their first meeting, I kept waiting for the whole thing to blow up in their faces. It doesn’t. Even when it does, it doesn’t. (Read the book, you’ll see what I mean.)
They meet, they fall in love, without knowing who the other is. They are at loggerheads in day to day life. Well, that is to say, she dislikes him. He is just bewildered and guilty, but unable to put things right with her because, she hasn’t told him why she is angry with him. Men are just supposed to know these things, aren’t they?
The story reminded me of Miklos Laszlo’s “Shop around the corner”, and this was its charm. We know they are in love, we’re willing them to get together for real.
The side story of trying to keep his name out of the scandal sheets was a distraction, and I kept forgetting about it, and then saying, “Oh, yes, of course,” when it was mentioned. Perhaps more could have been made of it. He could have been digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself throughout. As it stood, he is never seriously in danger of losing the wager, more’s the pity.
Still, scandal or no, Wainwright was a likeable hero and charismatic, and he brought Camellia from her shell quite nicely.