I listen to a lot of audiobooks, read a lot of library books and e-books, still somehow never have enough room on my bookshelves.
Which I can't be arsed to add. But Lerner's own covers are really lovely!
Anyway, I really liked this book. The conflict set around a national election and the complicated rules about who could vote and how to bribe them was original and created realistic, high stakes drama for all the major characters. Some of the political scandals felt a little on the nose, but I don't suppose politics have changed that much.
I liked the heroine, and how prickly and self contained she was. Her struggle to decide who to marry, and if she should remarry at all, and her conflicted feelings about her first marriage were very well drawn. I liked that a lot better than Romancelandia's usual virgin widows. She had loved before, did still love her in laws, but still felt like she'd missed out. That interacted well with the hero's poor communication skills, and lack of self awareness. So that the conflict turned into two character who never ever wanted to discuss their feelings trying to open up to each other, which also felt believable, and made me root for them without thinking they were idiots. I also liked that not everyone was a peer, and the book was quite funny.
There were about fifteen different side plots, most of which I was invested in, and which all came together reasonably well in the end, However, that did lead to the big dramatic reveal scene feeling a bit rushed. There were just so many people who had to get their oar in by then. That felt like an early book pacing problem, and I bet the rest of the series has improved by then. Some of the gender politics also felt a little modern for folks in 1812. However, given how on the nose the scandals were, I'll take that over period-appropriate horribleness.
Will definitely be going back to Lively St. Lemeston in the near future.