Susanna Craig’s The Lady Knows Best is the perfect antidote to Bridgerton anticipation. This is a sweet and steamy regency romance that checks so many boxes. As Regency season is just around the corner, this book is a great way for readers to get into the mood. The characters are easy to love. This is a perfect read to dive into as spring approaches. The story leaves readers wanting more in the best possible way.
Daphne as a character is a heroine worth getting behind. She’s an independent Irish woman running writing anonymously and giving ladies of the ton notions of the best kind. She’s never reduced to being a Strong Independent Woman. Instead, she’s allowed to go on a fully-fledged journey of her own of love and self-discovery. This is also balanced with a healthy dose of realism, that there were women exactly like this in an era that always erased women’s stories.
It is too bad readers did not get to explore more of Daphne’s Irishness and how she related to her culture. It also would have been nice to see more of Daphne’s actual writing. Readers know that she has incredible talent and forward-thinking ideas. Although it’s a romance, so of course that needed to be included, Daphne really could have carried a story of her own.
Lord Deveraux is the perfect cad. What makes his character so effective is that the roguishness is all an act. Underneath all of the bravado, there’s a massive heart. His moments of vulnerability make him all the more lovable. This makes him more human. He could easily be needlessly cruel. Instead, he’s allowed to identify the error of his ways on his own. The dynamic between the two protagonists has a lot of potential to grow.
The Lady Knows Best implements the enemies-to-lovers trope to near perfection. Too many stories attempting this trope forget the enemies part. Their respective imperfections clash with each other to create a compelling conflict. These two have very compelling reasons to hate one another. The story reads as authentic without feeling overdone.
The fake engagement in The Lady Knows Best could have grown tiresome so quickly. This is one of this writer’s personal least favourite tropes. Instead, this is used as a device to advance the plot. It’s all very fun to have people insinuate and assume what an engagement means to these two characters. This story is a manual on how to execute a fake engagement. It’s perfectly delightful without eliciting eye rolls.
The Lady Knows Best is exactly what it needs to be; a charming regency romance with just the right combination of sweetness and spice. For regency romances, this story is as lovable as they come. Two compelling characters are allowed to develop independently together and then come together for an endearing romantic adventure. Hopefully, this is not the last appearance these two will make within Craig’s universe.
The Lady Knows Best is available April 25, 2023.