Book Review: “Penelope’s Pleasure” by Deborah Villegas

This is a Regency romance. Regency romance is a super-popular genre, which is why I made it my business to find a lesser-known indie Regency romance with only a few reviews. Because that’s how we do things here at Ruined Chapel.

To be clear, this book is more in the Regency Historical sub-category, in that the characters use many modern expressions and tend to behave more in accordance with present-day attitudes, without much care for the mores of the actual Regency period.

In other words, this book has sex scenes. Don’t go in expecting Jane Austen. It’s raunchy and fast-paced. Maybe it’s more accurate to call it a Regency sex comedy. 

And that’s not all. Penelope, the impulsive, stubborn heroine, moonlights as a highwayman when she’s not flirting with Lord Westfield, Duke of Burwick. There’s a subplot with smugglers and kidnappers that culminates in a violent showdown.

The book is fast-paced. Sometimes, it was so fast-paced I found It difficult to keep track of all the characters were and their motivations. It’s probably a good idea to keep notes on characters as they are introduced. Also, it has a trope that’s common in romance novels: two characters who are obviously going to end up together refusing to just admit they’re in love for no particular reason. This drives me nuts; but it’s so frequently used I guess romance readers don’t mind it. I wouldn’t want to marry somebody whose attitude towards me seemed to vary by the hour, but hey; that’s just me. 

Despite this criticism, the book is enjoyable. I think I’m right in saying the author doesn’t mean for it to be taken too seriously; hence the “funny” in the subtitle. There are some over-the-top scenes of bawdy, farcical humor that are quite enjoyable. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s still an entertaining tale with a bit of naughtiness to it.

On a technical note: there are a few typos throughout the book. It didn’t really bother me that much, but some readers are more sensitive to this sort of thing than others.

And it has to be said: I’m not normally one to read Regency romances. I’m nowhere near the target market for this book. And even I enjoyed it, despite its flaws.  Regency romance fans who like their tales to err on the silly side are sure to find it a treat.


  1. This sounds fun. Thanks again for the review.
    When it comes to Romance novels you must have the antagonism betwixt the two folk you know are going to get together. The readers require, nay demand it. No one has bettered Jane Austen at this.
    It’s either that or have them plighting their troths to each other by Chapter Five (at the latest) then get separated spending the rest of the book trying to get back together, which is equally enjoyed by the reader.
    The slow burn and gentle journey (with an occasional problem) to love style is often used as part of a larger narrative.
    I’m a softy when it comes to Romance in books, I insist upon The Happy Ending.

    1. I agree; happy endings are a must in such stories. I definitely prefer romances where the couple is kept apart by external circumstances or forces. But that’s just me. 🙂

  2. I’ve read this one, and I’m going to write a comparison to it and Bridgerton which is on Stars tomorrow.

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