Camille Elliot's Prelude for a Lord is a refreshing regency with a spark of adventure. Lady Alethea Sutherton, a confirmed spinster, takes delight in quiet living and music, especially her violin, an instrument inappropriate for ladies of quality. Exiled to Bath with a cantankerous aunt, Alethea is accosted by a man trying to acquire her violin. In an effort to find out more about her instrument's history and why it is so desirable to the thief, she consults the dark and brooding Lord Dommick, a brilliant violinist and composer himself. As attempts to steal the violin escalate in violence, Alethea finds herself relying more and more on the Baron. Can they protect the violin and their families, or will she be forced to give up everything she holds most dear?
I generally enjoy regencies, and the musical theme clinched this one for me. While I do not play the violin, it was fun to read a book devoted to a musical instrument (and I have to say it just wouldn't have been the same with a Steinway instead of a Stradivarius). Both her passion for music and the way the music moves Alethea is beautifully described, and I couldn't help but dust my flute off in response.
I loved the camaraderie of Lord Dommick's quartet (though one member is off fighting Napoleon, and so we only hear of the other three talk about him). Since the three who are in England are always together, fighting off attackers, rescuing Alethea and Clare, and making music together, I thought of them as the three musketeers - all for one and one for all. Through it all, they bicker, joke, and ultimately support each other, exhibiting an authentic friendship.
Like many, Alethea assumes all the neglect and injustices in her life are proof that God doesn't care. However, a wise woman tells her, "We most often base our experience with God on the actions of others. But you must not mistake human frailty for divine relationship." People have free will, and God won't take it away; that means many innocents suffer the consequences of their actions. However, it doesn't mean God isn't there supporting us through the circumstances and showering us with His love.
Rather than the simple, sweet romance I was expecting, this novel is touched with humor and has a strong element of mystery and suspense. There are moments of terror, despair, hope, and wit. It has a different tone than many other regencies; I have read others that felt more authentic, but this one has an appealing spark of adventure. I'd say there is a great potential for a following novel or three, and I hope the author continues!
Thank you Zondervan and GoodReads for providing a free copy through the First Reads program; I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.