Title: Centaur and Sensibility
Author/Publisher: Quenby Olson
Mary Clegg is a young woman of great intelligence and fierce determination, and she has no wish to be saddled to the husband of her mother’s choice. So she runs away. She packs a bag and sets out for the nearest town, where she plans to catch a carriage and make for her aunt’s house on the coast. Unfortunately, a wrong turn takes her into the woods — and the woods won’t let her out. When she meets a centaur, and it turns out that he is trapped, too, they decide to join forces. Perhaps together they can find their way back to civilization … and, unexpectedly, a life together ….
Centaur and Sensibility popped up on a recommendation list. Was unfamiliar with the author, so I downloaded the sample. I fell in love with the book with this paragraph:
… if she did marry him she would no doubt either perish of boredom or hurl herself off the nearest cliff. Unfortunately, she knew that her mother would explain to her that most people of refined society did not marry for such silly, unpredictable things as love, that the most secure and advantageous matches were typically made from fortunes and bloodlines and a desire to conquer France.
Mary is a fantastic character. She not just smart: she’s clever and kind and forthright and stubborn. For example, when she realizes that she is stuck in the forest:
So if she could not find her way back, she would have to continue forward. Either that, or remain where she was and wait for fate or a wandering plot device to rescue her. So forward it was, then.
As for the centaur … well. Mr. Peregrine Beechum is a perfect match for Mary. He, too, has bucked family expectations to make his own way in the world (in his case, as an engineer). He is polite, intelligent, and possesses a dry sense of humor that he slowly reveals as they get to know one another.
And the woods are, well, the forest has its own plan for Mary and Peregrine. I have to wonder if the trees have engaged in such shenanigans before.
I was very sad when I reached the end of Centaur and Sensibility. This is a sassy, sweet romance filled with smart dialogue. I would love to read more stories about Mary and Peregrine, even if no magic trees are around to hold them hostage.
Highly recommended to fans of the Regency Mage series by Joyce Harmon, the Crown and Crest series by Shari L. Tapscott, the Dragons of Mayfair series by EB Wheeler, and The Elf Tangent by Lindsay Buroker.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]