Mistress Angel, by Lindsay Townsend, was one of those “if you liked this then you might like that” recommendations for me. In fact I didn’t really enjoy this book, mainly I think because I am too serious a reader of historical fiction to warm to its approach. Readers should be aware that this is essentially a light romance, which happens to be set in the past. Take it on that level, and if you like romances then this might be for you. But if you are wanting to immerse yourself in a past era, full of details and people unique to that time, perhaps another book would be better.
The story itself is straightforward. A young widowed mother is exploited by her guardians, and is rescued by a coincidentally widowed eligible young man. Characters are pretty much black and white, and change little during the plot. The historical elements come in predominantly through the social setting – guilds, horses, blacksmiths, processions and the like. The couple themselves are of high enough rank that they can challenge the system successfully, but not so high that their actions are in any real way constrained by social convention. The consummation is obvious from the first time they meet, and the only complexity is how the male half is going to be able to sort out the potentially destructive legal backlash. However, he happens to have plenty of money, good friends, and considerable knowledge of a bunch of disparate but pertinent facts.
One of my biggest complaints is about the length of the book. The kindle progress bar makes it look as though the story is of a typical length. However, it stops at 62%, and Lindsay has filled the rest up with short extracts from no less than six other books. Regardless of my feelings about Mistress Angel, I felt slightly cheated by this. On the other hand, the book is very economically priced.
For me, three stars. It lacked most of the things I enjoy in a book, and the snippets from quite different stories could not make up for the abrupt end to a very short book. Worth checking out if you like short romances with a thin layer of historical setting.