My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel, by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris
What do you get when you cross a somewhat sleazy but generally entertaining regency novel with intriguing characters and a compelling and complex plot with the Choose Your Adventure novels  most popular among preteen boys? You get something like this book. This is a book written by people who know what they are doing, and this is generally for the better. It is the sort of book that someone could read in public without embarrassment and which demonstrates that the authors are not only aware of the conventions of the bodice-ripping romance novel tradition of which they are so obviously a part, but also the way that other genres of literature combine as well. This novel manages to simultaneously be a historical romance as well as a mystery novel of sorts and contains some romantic options that are very surprising (and some of which that are LGBTQ+ friendly, which one may not necessarily expect from the outset). What makes this novel generally appealing is that the reader is in the perspective of a genuinely appealing and somewhat impoverished young woman of great spirits and a very high degree of sexuality.
Although this book is nearly 350 pages, it is unsure how many of those one will get through in the course of one’s reading given that it is a choose your own adventure novel. There are a wide variety of endings that one can find. In my own readings, for example, I found that it was hard to stay with the hardworking highlander Angus MacTaggart, but fairly easy to find oneself involved with the flirtatious and highly dangerous Lady Evangeline Youngblood, who is a pretty passionate woman. There are endings that go disastrously awry, and some that end up in 19th century detective novels where the protagonist reunites with her first love and serve as spies for the English government, which was definitely a satisfying ending as well. In another case I ended up finding an ending where the main character was wistful and nostalgic and married a loving widower. There is, in other words, a wide variety of courses that the story can take, which is suitable for a story like this one where the reader’s choices end up leading to a wide variety of potential outcomes and some that the reader will simply not take because of the choices they aim for.
This is certainly a novel worthy of emulation. The authors show that they are knowledgeable not only about the history of the time they are dealing with but also the constraints of the time. A brave and penniless person has to attract the good favor of someone to avoid a disastrous fate. In this particular case, the protagonist has enough spunk and intellect that a wide variety of escapes from poverty and the threat of spinsterhood are possible. The character has a strong libido but also a high degree of a social conscience, making this novel one that could easily turn into a compelling choose your own adventure movie if that was ever deemed a profitable and worthwhile decision by filmmakers. Likewise, this is the sort of novel that makes it seem as if there is likely to be many other novels of this kind that are released, because something this enjoyable demonstrates the possibilities for copying in other time periods where historical romances can have a compelling mixture of both history and romance and plenty of sordid intrigue. There is much to appreciate here if one is fond of romance novels and interested in the context of life in previous historical periods.
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