My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel is silly fun. If you are in the right mood for it, this Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style romance is addictive. It’s an affectionate parody of historical romance with pen and ink illustrations and a tendency towards intentionally terrible similes and metaphors that are deployed during sex scenes in such a way to inspire many a spit take.
In this book:
You are you. The plucky, penniless, Regency-era London version. For a lass of eight-and-twenty who can cover a screen just as well as she can jam out sonatas on the pianoforte, you are under the gun to find love with a suitably wealthy, good-hearted, or libidinous match-else find yourself an eternal spinster.
At the start of the book, you are companion to a highly disagreeable employer. You accompany her to a ball, where you meet your friend, Lady Evangeline Youngblood, a “free-spirited Woman with a Past.” You also encounter three single gentlemen. Sir Benedict Granville is the Darcy of the group. He is rude and rich. Lord Garraway Craven is “so mad and bad that word round the ton is that even Lord Byron finds knowing him to be dangerous.” There’s also Captain Angus MacTaggart, the Scottish savior of orphans. Mac’s storyline includes multiple plot moppets and a dog.
I didn’t go through all the possibilities, but I did read through several scenarios. The one in which you accompany Lady Evangeline to Egypt can be played as a f/f romance, so that’s awesome, plus you have the option to join a band of female adventurers or fall in love with the Egyptian man who runs a museum full of mummies. I also found out what happens if you go to London to help Mac with his orphans, and what happens if you agree to be the governess to Lord Craven’s shy young son. These scenarios involve adventuring, conspiracies, plot moppets, and a lot of sex.
The book is gleefully over the top. Never before have I been blessed with a scene wherein a young woman’s employer calls her a harlot at a crowded ball, only for someone else to cry out, “That harlot is my fiancée!” Settings include, among other places, ballrooms, Egyptian temples, castles in various states of repair, Scottish moors, English graveyards, an “eldritch garden,” and a brothel. Luckily you keep a cool head through it all, never forgetting your priorities:
He throws the suggestive lamp to one side, turns to you with fire in his eyes, and kisses you deeply. You cling to him like a drowning man to a raft. But you cannot spend all evening kissing in a brothel when you may have accidentally killed a man.
Here are a few of the fantastically terrible things involving sex:
- Lord Craven names your breasts, and he gives them different names depending on which plot choices you make.
- You seduce a French-Egyptian sheik named, I shit you not, “Fabian de Mangepoussey.”
- You and Mac exchange metaphors including caber tossing, slick glens, and “the monster that haunts my depths.”
This is ridiculous parody that is incredibly silly, yet I was left with a strong impression that the authors had read a LOT of romance novels and that they loved their levelheaded heroine and her many suitors. In the wrong mood, the book would fall horribly flat, but in the right mood it’s parody gold. I found it weirdly addictive and very funny, but best taken in small doses.
There are only so many caber-tossing metaphors a girl can take.
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