Thursday, 11 November 2010

Book Review: Nicola and The Viscount by Meg Cabot

The cover style is similar to that of the
Princess Diaries
From the back cover:

Nicola could feel Lord Sebastian's heart beating. It was the most delightful feeling in the world. Surely it meant that The God liked her. More than simply liked her--loved her even. It had to! It just had to!

Miss Nicola Sparks has fallen in love, big time. The object of her dreams is the fabulously rich Lord Sebastian, he of the ice-blue eyes, golden hair, and full-on mastery of the dance floor. To Nicky, Lord S. is a god. But are gods always quite as perfect as they are meant to be?

A totally romantic story with an unforgettable heroine--from the best-selling author of The Princess Diaries.

My review and thoughts

Reading this blurb, it has exactly the same ingredients and wording that you would expect on a contemporary YA romance and on others of Meg Cabot's books but the big twist is that it is set in the past during the Regency/Georgian period. Which author could be better at trying her hand to a teenage regency romance?

Nicky Sparks is a young orphan who has been left her father's estate Beckwell Abbey, which brings in enough money annually to send her to a reputable boarding school for young ladies and to leave a reasonably comfortable life. At sixteen Nicky leaves school and is about to jump into her first glamorous society season along with her best friend Elanor Sheridan. She has already set her heart on the handsome and rich Lord Sebastian Bartholomew, the brother of her schoolfriend Honoria, who she and Elanor have nicknamed 'the God.'  She is sure that they are meant to be and are a match made in heaven but not everything is as it seems.

A while ago I read Cabot's other teen regency romance and I much preferred the main character Nicky to Vicky. They are very different in a lot of ways although they share the fact that they are both orphans: Vicky is a rich heiress and Nicky is poor, Vicky is quite proud and sometimes sarcastic and outspoken whilst Nicky is fairly naive, loyal and shyly passionate. I would much rather have Nicky as a best friend!
I liked that she was a romantic poetry fan and a good fashion designer who always manages to add a small adjustment to her old clothes to keep in style on a budget. The book is narrated in the third person but follows Nicky's thoughts, which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much.
A lot of the other characters were cliches as you have the handsome bad boy. the caring and teasing childhood friend, the cruel guardian Uncle and the foolish cousin but the reason why these are so well used is because they are the perfect ingredients and work really well together.
I loved the hero of the book who Nicky eventually ends up with (sigh- so romantic!) but I would have liked to know more about Sir Hugh, who is Elanor's betrothed.

From the first chapter, I found the plot quite predictable and whilst there were lots of twists and surprises along the way, I had guessed who Nicky ended up with very early on in the book.  I think this could be because the basic plot and character relationships of Victoria and the Rouge was extremely similar. Some of the end is a bit far fetched but it's not impossible that something similar could have happened to a young girl back then and it adds to the drama and suspense of the ending.
However, plot is not what this book is about because everything from the antics and journeys of the characters to the fashions, witty dialogue and scandals of London high society made it a really fun and light hearted read.

Not everything is historically accurate as far as my knowledge extends and there are not so many of or detailed period descriptions as you would find in a Georgette Heyer regency but this didn't detract from my enjoyment of it. There were lots of small detailed I picked up on that were not true to the time such as the familiarity of woman and men for example using shortened names and the fact that at times Nicky and other main characters sometimes behaved and thought as if they were modern girls. Although, this book is aimed at teenagers and I think that it is more likely to appeal to them this way. Also, this is what gives the book its unique sparkle. Sometimes you just want something to curl up and sink into easily without having to think or concentrate on too hard but enjoy reading romance and have a few laughs. Nicola and the Viscount did the trick for me!

What Meg Cabot has to say about her inspiration for the book (taken from her website):
When I was a teen I saw the movie Romancing the Stone, and knew at once that I wanted to be a historical romance writer just like Joan Wilder (because she got to go to work in her pajamas). I loved reading historical romances, especially ones with humor in them, by authors like Johanna Lindsey and Amanda Quick. It's a dream come true to see my books on the same shelves as theirs!

Verdict: Nicola and the Viscount is a light, girly and fun read that would be perfect to introduce young girls to the world of historical and regency romance or Meg Cabot. It kept the pages turning and I loved it! However I wouldn't recommend it to adults who are looking for something similar to Georgette Heyer/Jane Austen unless they are looking for an easy and light book.


  1. I've read both Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue - which did you prefer?

  2. This sounds so fun and light hearted. I have only read one book by Meg Cabot (Jinx on a student recommendation) but I did really enjoy it. I may just have to read this. I think it would make me smile on a blue day. Great review.


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