A light, frothy Regency-era romp. Max has many of the characteristics of a typical Laurens hero: he’s a rake in his 30s, handsome, confident. . . definitely an alpha male. But he may have met his match — literally — when he unexpectedly becomes guardian to not one but four devastatingly beautiful sisters, all of them heiresses. The eldest, Caroline, is precisely Max’s type — and uncommonly strong-minded into the bargain. But by all the unwritten rules of the ton, Max can’t seduce his own ward. . . can he?
Laurens makes the most of the comedy and irony inherent in the situation. The Twinning sisters, it appears, are all susceptible to rakes, emotionally if not in the conventional sense. And rakes are drawn to them. Laurens does a good job of distinguishing the four sisters in character as well as looks. Watching them deal with their would-be seducers-cum-suitors is a lot of fun. Throw into the mix a plot to “rescue” a young friend from an unwanted marriage, a masked ball, and a false Romanian countess, and you have all the ingredients for a delightfully playful novel… with not one but four happily-ever-afters.
Final note: Four in Hand is one of Laurens’ earlier books, and is much less explicit than most of her later books.
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Historical romance (Regency era)
Publisher: Harlequin (2002; first published 1993)
Book source: in my collection
About the author: Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and raised in Australia. She trained as a biochemist; she and her husband spent four years in Great Britain working as research scientist before returning to Australia. One night, she ran out of her favorite romances, and decided to write her own. Once her books were selling well, Laurens left the world of scientific research to write full-time. She is the author of around 40 historical romances, most set in the Regency and post-Regency era, and has contributed to a number of anthologies as well. Most of her books are related in some way to her Cynster series. (Precis of official biography found on Laurens’ website.)