First Glance: Ah, the Regency romance - fancy estates with extensive gardens, men in jackets and cravats, ladies in empire-waist gowns, horse-drawn carriages, and of course, pet parrots. All the classics of the genre on one cover.
Another fun aspect of this cover, as pointed out by my co-worker Kat: the proportion of the parrot to the horse. The parrot is at least the size of the horse's head, if not larger. That is one killer parrot. Score: 4 out of 5
Title: Lord Nightingale's Love Song is pretty straightforward for a romance novel; we've none of us any doubt that the couple pictured will fall in love. It's not terribly creative, but it'll do. Score: 3 out of 5
Tagline: Hooray! I haven't found one with a tagline in awhile!
Can a spinster strike the right note with an eligible bachelor?Pretty great - is hits on the great pun-ery that is the stock-in-trade of taglines. Will she strike the right note in a book about a love song? I think she will. Score: 4 out of 5
Back of the Book:
A Grumpy Gentleman . . . No one can make the Marquess of Bradford smile - except his favorite horse.Uh, okay.
He avoids dancing at London balls. He scowls at the marriageable misses in drawing rooms.He scoffs at any woman who speaks - he'd rather converse with his dear horse. At least the horse had interesting things to say.
And his gruffness scares shy Miss Eugenia when she meets him on a dark balcony. . .Run away, Miss Eugenia! He hates women! I've watched Law & Order - it's only a short step from that to serial killer!
. . . before an instant attraction between them lights up the night.Right. Maybe she reminds him of his horse?
But she is off to Kent for the summer to care for the irascible Lord Nightingale and her young cousin Delight, and she never expects to see him again.What? Is Lord Nightingale another young child?
In fact, Miss Eugenia's London season had been a disaster . . . so she has resigned herself to spinsterhood when the Marquess of Bradford appears on her Kent doorstep - covered in mud and quite enraged.No seriously, girl. Run. No good can come of this dude and his woman-hating anger issues.
Of course she suspects Lord Nightingale is behind Bradford's complaint!Of course! The irascible Lord Nightingale that's possibly a small child! I still have no idea.
But she also believes a secret sadness had made him a curmudgeon.No, he's probably just a jerk with a long-held grudge and you can't fix him.
His horse knows the truth . . .Naturally.
. . . and so may Lord Nightingale.What? How? Who is Lord Nightingale and why does he know random things? Can he talk to horses? Is the horse a talking horse? Is that why the Marquess of Bradford is so fond of the horse's company?
I was so baffled as to Lord Nightingale's identity that I actually cracked open the book - something I've never done in the course of all my Cover Judgings. And I can reveal to you that Lord Nightingale is the parrot. A match-making parrot, to be precise. Apparently, the incorrectly-named Lord Nightingale brings together couples by eavesdropping on one person and repeating the information he uncovered to the other. By this method, he becomes the catalyst for four separate love matches over the course of the Lord Nightingale trilogy (plus Christmas special!). Straight-up truth.
I'm simply at a loss. I already dislike the dude, no matter what his "secret sadness" is, but a match-making parrot? That's golden. Score: 5 out of 5
Final Score: 16 out of 20, meaning Silver Deveraux, but I'm giving Lord Nightingale an honorary Golden Fabio for Conceptual Mastery.