by Ruth J. Hartman
published by Astraea
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: British, 100 Books in a Year
Bringing her love of cats to a “large” scale, Ruth J. Hartman has penned a delightful Regancy in Romance at the Royal Menagerie.
Francesca Hartwell is the daughter of the big cat keeper at the Tower Zoo in London. Although she officially is not allowed in with the cats, she cannot help getting close to them and building their trust. The relationship she has built with the leopard becomes a major boon when she saves soon-to-be-Barron John Fairgate after he accidentally falls into her cage. The two strike up a friendship that brings about more animosity than either could imagine. First, there is the gold-digger who is determined to marry John and will stop at nothing to have him. Second, there is Mr. Hartwell who despises anyone titled after his wife left him for an earl. Francesca’s mind knows what she should do, but her heart is telling her different.
The setting is what really makes Romance at the Royal Menagerie. Overall, it is a typical well-written Regancy, but the inclusion of the big cats—and that smell bear!—are what make it stand out. Hartman’s writing is fun and fluid and it is obvious that her love for cats is just as big as Francesca’s.
For a fun diversion, Romance at the Royal Menagerie is a great read. Ruth J. Hartman really brings this setting to life.