Series Guide










Choose from the reviews below ...
Nonnie Saad's Veryan Treatise

Toni's Musings on Some Brief Folly and Love's Duet

Another Dedicated Villain review by Joyce Bateman

Laura Henry's Review of A Shadow's Bliss

Isolde Wehr's Never Doubt I Love Review

Isolde Wehr's Review of Mandarin of Mayfair

Conflict Without Combat, re: Dedicated Villain
Issue #55 of Lauries Views and News mentions DV half-way down

Harriet Klausner's Review of The Riddle of Alabaster Royal

Katarina Wikholm's Review of The Riddle of the Alabaster Royal

Harriet Klausner's Review of The Riddle of the Reluctant Rake

Marilyn Heyman's Review of The Wagered Widow


Review by Joyce V. Bateman

This is the sixth book in the ‘The Golden Chronicles’ and is a marvelous tale in and of itself, but also as a finish to the series.

Captain Roland Mathieson or Captain Otton as he sometimes calls himself, has sauntered through the other 5 books, going his own way, occasionally helping others, though he says always against his will. Since he is half French, and his beloved Maman never accepted by his family, he grows up determined only to please himself, and prove he is as worthless as his father repeatedly tells him he is.

He has a fixation about obtaining the Stuart gold that is being returned to the people since Prince Charlie has not regained the throne. Captain Mathieson is never very far behind.

He is devilishly handsome, arrogant and determined to prove himself a villian indeed. He breaks many hearts along the way, but his own remains untouched. His estranged Grandfather warns him that in their family, the men love only once and for all time. Roland is not concerned. Then he meets Fiona Bradford under the unexpected circumstance of saving her kitten from drowning. He is alternately annoyed, amused, tender or teasing, but finds himself losing his heart to her. She, in turn, views him with love and almost hero worship because she can see below the surface as others had not.

Fiona’s father comes up with the idea of travelling as a company of actors, but his mother insists they need women along, and joins them with Fiona. Roland decides they will lead him to the gold and joins them. At first they don’t trust him, but gradually he proves himself, much to his own disgust.

With Lt. Lambert hot on their heels, fueled by a long-standing feud with Roland, he is determined to catch them. There are several breath-taking adventures along the way & Roland proves his worth, as his love for Fiona grows. But her grandmother will not give them permission to carry on until he can prove his worth by being accepted by his grandfather.

What Roland goes through in the latter part of the book is frightening, and only the thought of his 'Tiny Mite' keeps him going, beyond what he dreams possible.

The magic of Patricia Veryan’s books is sprinkled throughout, in the characters, in the delightful animals, by the transforming of a Dedicated Villian into a hero.


Review of A Shadow's Bliss

by Laura Henry
The story of the love between Crazy Jack, a penniless outcast and Jennifer, the lady of the manor is romance with a slight twist. While Jennifer is learning to know and love Jack, he is struggling to know himself and his own past. A victim of amnesia, he is haunted by the only part of his past he remembers: a great tragedy he was apparently responsible for. Jack, Jennifer and the reader all discover together the truth of the tragedy and Jack's evolution from the guilt ridden Crazy Jack to the quietly confident Captain Jonathan Armitage is a touching story.

The story provides plenty of adventure, too: from Jack's cliffside rescue of the truly disgusting Hibbard Green to the chaos in the Tin Rose Mine to the climatic scenes when Jack, Jennifer, Noah and Mrs. Newlyn flee from a hysterical mob. Old friends Jamie Morris and August Falcon arrive to provide both clues to Jack's past and the hilarious exchanges that enliven the Tales of the Jewel Men Series. Even the grotesque Hibbard Green, who is a real threat in this book, inadvertently delivers a laugh out loud comic moment. More clues to the goals and identities mysterious traitors appear. Jack himself turns out to hold a key to the schemes of the evil band of traitors. And of course, there is foreshadowing of trouble ahead, especially for August Falcon. All in all, one of the best in this series, which also leaves the reader rushing for the next book!

Jonathan Armitage. Known as Crazy Jack, he is a honorable man, bent down by the shame of having caused a tragedy at sea and trying to make amends by remaining a humble wanderer. His hard work, intelligence and apparent educated background causes scorn in most residents of his village, but intrigues Jennifer Britewell, daughter of the local landowner. Jack's gradual recovery of his memory and his honor are due to his own courage and intelligence and also to the love and support of Jennifer.

Jennifer Britewell. Her sweet nature leads her to start a school for the village and it is here that she becomes acquainted with Jack. First intrigued, she is then attracted to him. She is able to overcome the shock of finding herself in love with someone so far below her in station. She possesses a quiet courage and strength that makes her invaluable in the battle against the members of the Jeweled Men.

Hibbard Green. Just as horrible as he was in Love Alters Not, he is fat, smelly, and evil. What kind of man would beat the person who saved him from falling over a cliff? Who would use blackmail to secure a bride? And these are his good points!

Sir Vinson Britewell. Father of Jennifer, he is notable for his decision to save his worthless son's life (thus preserving his own riches and comfort) by selling his sweet daughter to the disgusting Hibbard Green.

Howland Britewell. Brother of Jennifer, cheater at cards, smuggler of fugitive Jacobites for money, he is the catalyst for the trouble Crazy Jack rescues Jennifer from.

The Widow Newlyn. She takes in Jack, gives him work and his start on the path to remember his past. She also teaches his canery, Jasper how to say Posthumous because it sounds so cheerful.

Noah Holsworth. Another of Jack's employers, he finds Jack useful in constructing an ark. The ark comes in handy and the Widow Newlyn becomes his bride.


"Never Doubt I Love" by Patricia Veryan

Copyright - 1995


Reviewed by Isolde Wehr

"Never Doubt I Love" is the fifth installment of Patricia Veryan's Georgian series "Tales of the Jewelled Men".

Here the other stories:
1. "Time's Fool"
2. "Had We Never Loved"
3. "Ask Me No Questions"
4. "A Shadow's Bliss"
6. "The Mandarin of Mayfair".

This books tells the story about Peregrine Cranford (this name sounds familiar to P. Veryan fans) and Zoe Grainger.

Zoe, a country miss, became a new stepmother who don't like her. One day Lady Buttershaw come in Zoe's fathers house and offer her stepmother to take Zoe with her to London to be a companion to her sister Lady Julia. Zoe has no change for an other decision. She had to accompany Lady Buttershaw.

In London she is really surprised because she gets new dresses and her "work" is easy. She only has to go out with Lady Julias dogs and comb the cats.

The first meeting between Perry (Peregrine) and Zoe in a little inn near London is a big misunderstanding. In London they meet again because Lady Buttershaw is looking for a married man for Zoe. Both had no good memories on their first meeting but after a while they become friend.

Little by little happens more stange things and Zoe and Perry must recognize that they are in the middle of a conspiracy against England. Now they need the help of friends and a lot of courage because the enemies are dangerous.

I had such a lot of fun while reading this book. It is like with every Patricia Veryan book. They are full of humor, surprises, suspense and adventures. You can read the book also without knowing the other stories but if you read all it is much more easier to under- stand who all the persons are because nearly each friend of Perry has his own story.


The Mandarin of Mayfair

Rated: 4.5
Copyright: 1995
Reviewed: 8/19/98 by Isolde Wehr


Here is the sixth installment in Patricia Veryans series about the "League of the Jewelled Men" which is a wonderful end in this series. You read the funny and exciting story about August Falcon and Gwendolyn Rossiter.

The men around Gideon Rossiter fight against a group of people called the "League of Jewelled Men" who wants to overthrow the english king. This time the league wants to kill August and lay their hands on his estate.

August isn't accepted by the high society because his grandmother was half chinese and russian. His great- grandfather was a Mandarin and that's why his nickname is "Mandarin of Mayfair". He is only tolerated because he is rich.

August knows how cruel the high society can be and so he doesn't allow his sister to marry the man of her dreams, James Morris. Jamie is madly in love with Augusts sister Katrina but he will not marry her without the consent of her brother. Gideons sister Gwendolyn is a enchanting young woman with a little limp (she has that since her birth) who teases August very often. They are friends and Gwendolyn loves August but he also doesn't want to marry.

Also Tummet, meanwhile servant from August is a very important part of the story again. Alltogether they try to find enough proofs against the criminal group so that the gouvernment will believe them. They know the names of a few members of the group but couldn't unmask them official. Then a member of the group gives August drugs and so he nearly kills Jamie in a duell.

August doesn't know why he did something so cruel. He wants to calm down his conscience and so he trys to find the league alone. But soon he is in deep trouble. Will be able Gwendolyn safe his live?

This novel was a worthy close of the series. Patricia Veryan wrote again a wonderful story with much joy and suspense. Not only fans will love this book.



I have reread Some Brief Folly even though after I first read it I swore I never would. I am trying to prove to Barbara that the order of Veryan's writing, regardless of publication dates is : L&G , LD, and SBF.

The first time that I read SBF, it was right after I finished the GCs. So I went from Dedicated Villain right to SBF. DV is Patricia Veryan at her funniest, frothiest, melodramatic best. It's hard to find a single line in DV that doesn't work. And every character counts. It's full of dialogue, Roly and the squeaker don't shut up. And there is lots of detail about Roly's life to give his behaviour context and the bad guy is her best. And you have to consider that I was already disappointed that GC was not JM. So I closed the cover on DV and opened the first page of SBF. Yikes! It was like going from chocolate mousse to fruitcake.

As far as Hawk went, the explanation for his behavior was minimal compared to Roly, he was not a point of view character in a meaningful way, the villain was a cipher (isn't this a clever choice of word? It a literal description of the underdeveloped villain, as well a subtle reference to GC. That's the effect of eating 3 lbs of Easter chocolate in one day), and the reconciliation between him and his grandfather was a pretty pale shadow of the one between Roly and Muffin. The dialogue is minimal. The setting standard Gothic romance. I was disappointed.

That's why it took me months to read the rest of the Sanguinets. I actually read the Riddles first, and only when I became absolutely desperate did I start Lord and the Gypsy. There was no way I would reread SBF then. Then I waded through LD. But then, thankfully, came Feather Castles and the rest and now I even have my own copy of GATL, thanks to the ever-wonderful Barbara.

So when it was time to reread SBF for the list discussion, this time I did it the right way. I reread LD first. Then SBF. Then when I finished SBF, I reread DV. (This last step was maybe not necessary to prove the point, but I don't need a lot of reasons to reread DV). Now, in context, SBF is not that bad. Certainly, Hawk and Mia are fine. The plot is suitably melodramatic. There are an assortment of interesting secondary characters, and the subplot of Stephanie and Buchanan is more intense than Veryan subplots usually are.

But it's not as well written as subsequent Veryan work. Not by a long shot. I just read a Joan Wolf book. So I'm really into these bullet sentences.

And the one line paragraphs.

So do I think the order written is L&G, LD and SBF? L&G has the lousiest heroine ever, so it must be first. LD has the next lousiest, so it must be second.( Yes, LD maniacs, I'm yanking your chains. I know that L&G and LD were published first and second so I'm willing to grant they were written earliest, so do not bother dusting off those voodoo dolls). But why is SBF third? After all, Mia is actually ok. And publication dates put Feather Castles and Nanette before SBF.

I think that L&G, LD and SBF are the first three Veryan wrote because they are virtually identical to each other in essential areas and radically different in style from all of Veryan's other books. Furthermore, they each illustrate a different version of the same hero that Veryan develops way more successfully in later books.

The similarity in style includes a marked shortage of dialogue. Every Veryan book after these three is chock full of memorable dialogue. Especially between the hero and heroine. Did either Lucian and Deirdre say a single thing that rang in your ears? I'm sorry, but the witty repartee between Camille and Sophia was not. Likewise in SBF. The best piece of dialogue between Mia and Hawk actually comes on the last page of the book. Not that Mia and Hawk don't develop an interesting relationship. It's just that Veryan's not using dialogue to tell the story. And in all of her later books, the dialogue stands out.

Now to be fair about it, there's nothing too snappy about the dialogue in Feather Castles either. But I think that's because the protagonists are two of the dullest people on the planet. But there is way more dialogue than in SBF. Just take them both in hand and rifle the pages. FC is full of it. By comparison, SBF has hardly any.

You can see Veryan developing her writing style throughout L&G, LD, & SBF. For example, in L&G, a number of key scenes were not described directly, like the kidnapping of that secondary woman character that Lucian foils. It involved a serious attack on the hero, but he just describes it retrospectively to some friends. Later Veryan would never leave that out. In LD, key scenes and characters are attenuated, too short to get milked for their full value, e.g. the big bad guy, or the guy who takes the treasure. In SBF, side issues receive too much prominence, as with the 2nd aunt's musicale, the excessive number of servants with interesting features. But in all of the books subsequent, Veryan finds the balance between relevant and irrelevant narrative and characters and when to show it and when to stow it. Even in GATL, which has a surfeit of servants, each one has a point to move the story along.

Similarly with subplots. I've already ranted about the excessive number of things happening in L&G. It's the same problem with LD: the missing treasure, the spa, the land deal gone bad, the evil Cobras, the alienated papa, the alienated uncle and papa, the brother, the bad friend, the broke cousin...And there's SBF, with not one but two aunts, the missing child, the murdered wife, the alienated grandpa, the feuding neighbor, the nephew, the depressed brother and the chaste sister. Fewer subplots than L&G and LD, but still too many. Compare them to Nanette or FC. After SBF, Veryan pares it down so the reader can focus on the story. The subplots don't require a score card.

There are equivalent issues with point of view. L&G is all Lucien. LD is Sophia (why?), like SBF is mostly Mia. Most of her later books use multiple points of view, even if she's chosen the hero or the heroine as the main one. There is a little Simon in SBF, but not even close to enough Hawk. She doesn't make that kind of mistake in later books: she won't waste time giving you the secondary male character's pov, when you don't get the hero's. Hawk actually remains more oblique than Simon. Frustrating.

Apart from the same unfocused writing style, the other thing that L&G, LD and SBF share is the presentation of the Veryan archetypal hero: noble, brave and good, but misjudged and alone, until his true love recognizes the truth about him.

Lucian is the publicly-humiliated misjudged man. Society is punishing him because it is suspected that he's killed his girlfriend. (Not Deirdre, since obviously, no one would be shunned for killing her) In true early Veryan overkill, he then gets boycotted by society again because he makes it look like he's trying maneuver his cousin Vaughn out of an inheritance. So unfair, since he was really just trying to protect his girlfriend and Vaughn. But Lucian stoically endures the cruel treatment by his mistaken peers. Sound familiar? Anthony Farrar even looks just like Lucian.

And Camille. The sarcastic uncaring front presented to insulate the vulnerable man from exposing his true self to cruel society. August, step forward dear. That's enough. Meet me later around back. Where's Treve?

Hawk: the misjudged man forced to take refuge from cruel society by becoming a rake. Roly, you and Treve come over here. Tell August to come in, but just for a second.

Now Veryan does have other archetypes: dull men with the huge fantasy life, wild boys, adorable boys, etc. But the most powerful of Veryan's heroes are the vulnerable inside, crunchy outside guys that suffer from society's cruel misjudgments: August, Roly, Anthony, and Treve. Is there any argument about this? Do we need a poll?

And these shellacked-over bowls of jello are exactly the kind of men that Veryan is playing with in her first three books. She's trying them on, working the permutations. That's why poor Lucien has to suffer two humiliating courses of treatment. And practically everyone is misjudged in LD. And why Hawk is has to do a major reversal after several years of being reviled by society.

Society's misjudgment, with all of it's horrible consequences on the psyche of the poor man are essential Veryan themes. Why did she make Rossiter's men dump August after the duel? Because he wasn't suffering enough. She had him rejected by haut ton society, but it didn't bother him enough. Not until he's rejected by his friends can he follow the trail of degradation blazed by Lucien and Hawk and reach the depths inhabited by Roly and owned by Anthony.

So it's not that Mia and Hawk aren't interesting characters or the plot is not good. It's that Veryan later develops such an inspired and original way of telling the same story. Like LAN is better that L&G, SBF doesn't have the trademark Veryan style that makes her later books so excellent. Except for the type of hero, SBF could have been written by anyone. But all of her subsequent books could only have been written by Patricia Veryan.



I want to talk a little bit about parts of SBF and Love's Duet that I found particularly moving.

No.1: in LD, the relationship between Cam and the Duke of Vaille and the scene where the latter finds out the former was a member of Cobra. That still stands out as one of the best Veryan scenes ever. Charged with emotion, the fact that Cam doesn't feel he can tell the truth about the situation even to his father whom he admires, is very worthy precursor to the later finely developed relationship between Roly and Muffin.

This is an early book, and yet you can still find the flashes of brilliance that escalate in her later books.

Also, and here is my admiration for villains again, I found Amory Hartwell to be interesting semi-villain, somewhat similar to Rupert of Hentzau in the Prisoner of Zenda. He's a villain because he needs something to fill his time, circumstances make it that villainy is more appropriate an occupation for him at this time, and it lets his petty side find release. And, admit it, we all have our petty sides (don't even let me get started on mine, I'll be gibbering for hours - no, days!). I've always liked the villains who are normal people who are not evil, just on the wrong side. Or overwhelmed by the tiny poniards of daily life. (Okay so I just saw Shakespeare All's Well that Ends Well last night, forgive me my Elizabethan dialogue).

No.2: Some Brief Folly; I have always found Mia a most admirable heroine. If you take all her good points together, she is actually right up there with Gwendolyn as the most admirable. She is mature, good-hearted, keeps her head in a crisis, and won't let people cower from their failings. She has her priorities and she doesn't lie about them. She loves her brother more than she loves Hawks sense of justice. And she lets Hawk know that. There is no subterfuge in Mia (unlike in Deirdre). She is an honest soul and therefore deserves her hearts desire. Similarly, with Gwen honesty, loyalty adds to a devotion to personal truth. She too does not let August emotionally hide and compels him over time to explore, revel (and what I see as the ultimate end) embrace all parts of his heritage.

Now on to my little pet peeve, which I have aired before but will again (ha ha!). I like Stephanie and Simon. I like them as a couple and I cheer them when they run away together. Now let me explain.

Stephanie is the strong one in the relationship, Simon is the more passive. As Veryan fans, and romance fans in general, we have been conditioned to despise weak men. We admire strength, even when it manifests itself in men who could be classified as rapists and yet are still heroes (Victoria Holt's Demon Lover, Ahmed in The Sheik). Don't even get me started on that trend. Grrr. Weak men, no matter how good, are contemptable. Simon is a weak man. I say that there is nothing wrong with the woman being the strong one in the relationship. Not all matches can be made of equals, nor should they. It's just not possible. So if you have a match made of unequals, then it's a darn good thing both are relatively good people.

Ok. They hurt their family by running away together. But I say, how is it that both the Buchanans and the Hawkhursts were so wrapped up in their own problems (admittedly large) that they didn't notice what was going on? Support is what was needed here. And S&S didn't get it. Imagine the difference:

Mia put her hand on Simon's arm. "Oh dear. I'm so glad you found Stephanie. Now let's go petition the courts to grant you a divorce from Ernestine. Oh and we can do some paternity tests on your two youngest. And get a writ of misconduct sworn out on her. I'm sure her lovers aren't exactly of the best character. We can get them to testify against her. I'm sure it won't take more than 3 years."

Ok. So I'm being sarcastic. But I understand S&S's decision. The era and moral atmosphere just makes it more tragic, not condemnable (by our standards, nor the standards of their family, I think) or unbelievable. I think the only mistakes S&S made was that their timing sucked and they didn't tell everyone. The latter could be excused by the parallel events that were going on, the former is due to the author.

I got the sense of extreme desperation around the whole S&S thing. Like they thought this was their only chance for ever being happy and breaking out of their either repressive or miserable lives. With that kind of desperation, I am not surprised they seized it and behaved irresponsibly.

Of all the different kinds of people in the Veryan books, I would definitely put them on the side of the angels, not just because they loved each other but because of the people who loved them.