REVIEW: Teller of Tales by Laurel Ames

Dear Ms. Ames:

I hope this letter gets to you as I do not see that you are publishing any longer. Or it may be that you are publishing under a different name. Your book was recommended to me after I had finished reading Almost a Gentleman by Pam Rosenthal. I had expressed dissatisfaction at how certain parts of AAG played out. I wanted to see more of how the masquerade affected the lives of the participants. Teller of Tales is AAG only much, much better.

Jenner Page was raped as a young girl. She became pregnant and subsequently lost her baby rendering her incapable of having children. Based upon those two factors, Jenner was simply not marriagable material. She was allowed to go her own path. This lack of coddling made Jenner self reliant and very different than the average Regency female. When she was on the way to London, disguised as a male, she was nearly run over by a carriage driven by Lacey Raines.

Let me stop here for a moment and let me tell you how genius it was for you to provide Jenner with the manly name and Lacey with the feminine name. It never stopped failed to remind me of the role reversal game Jenner was playing.

Lacey is rake and not a faux one. He has engaged in well publicized affairs and scandalous activities such as living with his mistresses. He is bored with his life and the only thing that truly provides him pleasure is thumbing his nose at society. Which, of course, makes him a darling within society. But Lacey is also a man who doesn’t always get what he wants. At every turn, it seems that he is being rebuffed. His suit for marriage is scorned by his intended because of his reputation. Lacey wants to be loved and when he meets Jenner, his ennui is momentarily abated and his thirst for real affection is met.

Lacey ensconces Jenner in his home because of the injuries Lacey caused. Soon after, Lacey discovers that Jenner is actually a woman. Instead of sending her home, Lacey finds that he is further engaged by Jenner and decides to squire her around town in her male garb. The trouble is that Lacey and Jenner have a hard time disguising their growing feelings for each other. Compounding the fact that they are falling in love is the arrival of Lacey’s family.

The masquerade is not simply a plot device to allow Lacey and Jenner to be intimate together. It is the raison d’ etre of the book. The whole story deals with demasking: the risks and the rewards, the demasking of each character both literally and figuratively. At one point, Lacey notes that despite the fact that Jenner is the one that is physically disguised, it is Lacey who is constantly wearing the mask. This wasn’t just a good read. It’s a really well written book.

As Lacey and Jenner fall deeper for each other, the web of deceit that they created actually prevents them from being together forever. Jenner feels she must leave Lacey before the masquerade is unveiled. Lacey has learned to appreciate life, to love his family, to be better emotionally. Jenner cannot allow him to lose that again. Lacey, on the other hand, is distraught at the idea of Jenner not being part of his life. Packed into this small volume is a wealth of emotions and I felt empowered at the end when the two of them reached their happy ever after. A for you.

Best regards,

Jane

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0 comments on “REVIEW: Teller of Tales by Laurel Ames

  1. Even if the author’s name had been spelled correctly, Amazon has it listed under Ames [no first name]. Here’s the OCLC if you want to search libraries. Perhaps the Ja(y)nes might consider adding the ISBN of upcoming OOP reviews?

    The Teller of tales by Laurel Ames
    * Type: English : Book : Fiction
    * Publisher: Toronto ; New York : Harlequin Books, ©1993.
    * ISBN: 0373287631
    * OCLC: 27455816

  2. I tried this book and the hero’s behavior did not seem believable to me. Specifically, the way he squired Jenner around town and didn’t seem to care if his friends and acquaintances started to think he was gay. The book was set in the Regency era, wasn’t it? And at that time, men were hanged for being gay. So the public flaunting of the relationship was hard for me to credit, and I didn’t get very far into the book for that reason. Sorry, Jane! 😦

  3. The ISBN is a good idea. Maybe even a link to an abebooks.com search. This is an out of print title but it is not hard to find. I have seen it for sale for little more than $1.00.

    Janine – The whole furor over the possibility that Lacey was having a homosexual relationship was one of the reasons that I thought this book was so much better than Almost A Gentleman. AAG really glossed over that aspect. Teller of Tales showed how it was having dire consequences on Lacey’s life to the point that he thought he may have to flee for the continent. It worked for me, but obviously not for you! 🙂

  4. I just submitted a correction to Amazon on the name. Should take effect by Tuesday. If you search by ISBN with no dashes it comes up.

    In another note while sodomy could bring down severe penalties of the law including hanging, it was rare that anyone of any social consequence was prosecuted. If they were assailed in the press, like William Beckford, they withdrew to the continent where homosexuality was not generally regarded as severely as it was in England during the height of the sodomy prosecutions (generally considered as about 1810). Even Beckford though eventually returned to his home at Fonthill where he created a fantastical lifestyle. Of course being the richest man in England did not hurt.

    Diane Gabaldon in her historical mystery Lord John and the Private Matter does a really good job of laying out what is known about the homosexual underworld in the mid to late 18th century. If anyone wants to read this book I recommend the audio version. The narrator is excellent.

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