Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Libby's London Merchant" by Carla Kelly

Libby's London Merchant (Nesbitt, #1)
Libby's London Merchant by Carla Kelly
For Ages 15+ (Language)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Signet -- Published in 1991
Paperback, 224 pages
Read in January 2015
Received from Paperback Swap (December 2011)

Beautiful Miss Libby Ames knew little about the man who landed unexpectedly at her country manor. Only that he called himself Mr. Nesbitt Duke, a London merchant. And after one look at Libby, he claimed he’d fallen in love. But it was soon clear that this handsome stranger was not being entirely truthful.

Arriving at Libby’s doorstep was not fate, but rather an encounter of Nesbitt’s own design. Furthermore, his position in life was far from that of a merchant. His name too was a lie. But his true identity was still not the greatest mystery. For Libby had no idea of the secret longings of her own heart—or what to do next about the mystery man, and the passionate love that has taken her by shocking surprise.

"I say, Nez, you're not paying a ha'penny's worth of attention."

Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--January--We Love Short Shorts!  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

Why I Chose It For My TBR Challenge Read: Libby's London Merchant has been on my radar ever since I started reading historical romance in undergrad and I was excited to get a copy through Paperback Swap.  Then I got distracted and three years later (!), I hadn't even opened it.  But, thanks to the 2015 TBR Challenge over at The Misadventures of Super Librarian, I finally read it!  And I found to be both surprising and enjoyable.

This review is going to be a little weird due to the fact that I think most of my enjoyment came out of the unpredictable nature of the plot.  I do not want to spoil anything for future readers so am trying to sing the praises of Ms. Kelly's work without offering specific evidence.  But, I can say that I was very impressed with the character development and the writing style.  

The center of this book is the titular Libby Ames who is a poor relation of a baronet in Kent.  Her life is pretty routine as she helps manage her uncle's house and acts as a companion to her spoiled cousin.  Things change forever when a mysterious merchant (Nez Duke) is injured in a carriage accident outside the house and she works alongside the town doctor (Anthony Cook) to mend him.

I really liked the three main characters that Carla Kelly focused on in this book: Libby, Nez, and Anthony.  I am rarely a fan of love triangles, but I can appreciate what she was trying to accomplish with this book.  There are many stereotypes when it comes to historical romances and this story really turns them on their heads such as the reformed rake and the always popular groveling moment at the end.

The main issue that I had with Libby's London Merchant was the uneven pacing especially at the beginning.  I understand that the author was trying to establish the characters and their place in each other's world, but I kept getting distracted and was close to putting it down.  But, by the middle, the action picks up and I was easily able to plow through the rest.  So I do want to warn future readers to keep going through the first few chapters, know that it does get better, and is worth it by the end.

So, while it took me a long time to actually read it, I am happy that I finally finished Libby's London Merchant.  Carla Kelly has a very distinct writing style and it was a pleasant change from the other historical romances I have been reading lately.


Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.


  1. Great review! And now I'm intrigued by Carla Kelly. I see her books in used bookstores sometimes, but I've never picked one up. Seems one of the features of the TBR Challenge is going to be adding as many books to the TBR as I'm taking off ;-)

  2. I am definitely intrigued, but also a bit nervous because I also hate love triangles. But you said it wasn't terrible. And I am curious about the plot. Thanks for the review Jennifer!

  3. This book has been on my radar for a while--I have only read one Carla Kelly so far, but I loved it (The Lady's Companion, which is truly excellent).

    Libby's London Merchant has been recommended to me before, and your review makes me itch to read all the more. Higher on my wish list it goes!

  4. This sounds great. I really have been wanting to return back to paperback swap, I haven't used it in years. I do like those stories that are more unpredictable.

  5. Hello Jennifer. I'm happy you visited my blog, so I wanted to "know" you as well. I'm glad to follow you :)
    Carla Kelly is an amazing writer and I think her style improved a lot since her earlier books. I've recently read one of her oldest books and having read more recent ones too, the difference in style is obvious and better.
    I also have more things by her to read soon.

  6. I love Carla Kelly although this is (incredibly) one I have yet to read. I really must make a point of digging it out soon!


Yeah comments!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I will try to reply to your comments as soon as possible.