The Lord Pretender is a unique, entertaining story. This is a historical romance with a little of the fantastical and a dash of humor. Emma vows vengeance against Simon and his club. Emma blames Simon for encouraging her father to gamble away the family’s fortune. After two brief encounters as strangers, Simon and Emma confront each other during a thunderstorm and magically switch bodies.
I was cautious going into the novel due to the magical nature of the plot. The body-swap worked; the plot focused on how Simon and Emma handled each other’s lives rather than the why and how of the swap. There were a couple of loose ends. Simon’s niece’s revelation was far-fetched. Also, Simon’s father demands Simon to make a vow concerning his mother, and we never learn why his father made him do this, which bothered me. That being said, this was a tricky plot device that could have gone wrong in many ways. I believe it worked and told a romantic, socially conscious story.
The romance was unique due to the body swap; however, the connection between
Simon and Emma were intense. Simon had to learn what life was like for a single, destitute woman with no prospects. Emma had to learn what life was like as a man who had the whole world at his beck and call. Reading how these characters learn humility and grace in their respective roles was striking; that was the best part of the book. The plot moved well; in the middle, it drags just a bit, but the final twenty-five percent flew by.
The Lord Pretender is the first book in the Red Lion Ladies series. Sawyer North is a new author to me, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of his writing. The balance between the practical and the fantastical was perfect. There were a few minor issues, as stated above, but all in all, I felt this was a solid beginning to a unique and entertaining series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Release Date: June 20, 2022