The Summer of You - Kate Noble The Summer of You is a pretty good book. If you asked me to come up with two words to describe it, I would settle on "decent" and "competent." There's some sweet dialogue and a little mystery cut into the romance to keep my attention. The main characters, Byrne and Jane, are totally cool people. Like, if I got blasted into Regency times through the super-secret time machine I'm building in my basement (don't tell the government), I would want to spend country parties admiring the gardens with Byrne and Jane. London during the season would be different, though. I'd want to spend that time with people more entertaining than this sedate couple. No offense, fictional characters I've never met. But let's bring my hypothetical rant to an end because I totally don't have a super-secret time machine in my basement. The main point of this rambling paragraph is that I enjoyed The Summer of You like it was pink cotton candy for the brain.

However, one of my current pet peeves is incredibly well-covered in this book. You see, Byrne, god love him, has an ouchy-hurty leg injury and walks with a cane. And immediately, my eyes rolled the whole way to the back of my head. Now wait a minute! Don't just automatically assume that I'm a heartless bitch. I have nothing against hot dudes with serious leg injuries. It's sooooo sad. But it's also sooooo overdone. The Hero Whose Only Flaw is Walking with a Limp that Makes Him Tres Sad is a very overused trope in Regency romance these days. I can name at least 3 books off the top of my head that I've read in the last year with the very same plot device. Sadly, there hasn't been an author yet with the velociraptor balls to straight-up amputate the hero's leg, which was a whole bunch more likely in wartime back then. Nope. Instead, the guy who we're supposed to love for being all tortured and damaged just limps around and bitches A LOT about walking on two legs with some discomfort. And I always think, "Yeah, that must really suck to hurt all the time, BUT AT LEAST YOU STILL HAVE A FUCKING LEG, YOU CRYBABY BASTARD!"

Of course, Byrne's main form of treatment for his leg is aquatic fucking therapy, which is the new Modern Medicine Authors Slip Into Historical Fiction and Hope I Won't Notice du jour. To Noble's credit, she almost got it right. Before the story, Byrne was 18 kinds of screwed up and addicted to opium, laudanum, alcohol, etc. But then some quaint country doctors told him to swim to make it feel better instead of bleeding him out and encouraging him to stay in bed forever like doctors usually did before the invention of modern medicine, and my bullshit detector started blaring. Isn't it strange that when the girls in these books twist an ankle, the doctors and other characters are all, "You must stay in bed FOR WEEKS until there is no chance of you experiencing pain ever again," while the guys can have their legs practically torn in two by bullets, and everyone's like, "Dude, try the water. Just SWIM. It works!"?

Now, Byrne totally could have gotten away with the cane, the limp, the drug dependency, and even the goddamn aquatic therapy IF Noble had given any other reasons for him to be unsociable and taciturn. Before the injury, Byrne was a light-hearted, cool guy who didn't sulk his days away in a secluded cabin. Then he gets one leg injury, which will probably heal even more in time because it only happened ONE YEAR AGO, in which time he's made get strives toward recovery, and the guy's inconsolable and convinced that he doesn't deserve love or kindness. Hey Byrne, Angst just called. It wants its fucking street cred back!

So yeah. I really wish that authors would stop using one injury as an excuse to make their heroes act like asshats. I see people every day with chronic illnesses and disabilities who do amazing things! Why can't Byrne be one of them before he meets Jane's Magical Vagina of Love and Redemption?

On the bright side, the love story is well-done. Byrne's anti-social tendencies aren't a factor when he's around Jane, and their biggest conflicts to Happily Ever After are class differences (Jane's the daughter of a duke, and Byrne's just a regular gentleman) and the fact that the entire town thinks Byrne's a highwayman because he's such an asshole all the time. It was nice to read about Byrne and Jane's budding friendship as it naturally progressed into the urge to jump each other's bones. Jane loses her ice queen veneer from Revealed and becomes a sympathetic and likable heroine.

So aside from the leg shenanigans, I enjoyed The Summer of You quite a bit. Unfortunately, it doesn't carry quite the sparkle and fun of Revealed, so I can only give it 3 stars.