Clarity by Sydney Jane Baily

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Romantic & Heartwarming Start to a New Regency Romance Family Saga!

Clarity is a Regency gem! Completely charming heroine? Completely unlikeable hero (who you often want to throttle)? Must be a match made in friends-to-enemies-to-lovers heaven!

The Diamond family are endearing from Sydney Jane Baily’s first note describing their family history and how they came by their unique last name. As a welcome change from many romance novels (including most of my own! whoops!), the Diamond parents are both still living and thus available to guide their four daughters and one son, as well as show them a wonderful example of what a “love match” really looks like.

The Diamonds are all wonderfully crafted characters but the two siblings we see the most in this first book in the series are Clarity, the eldest, and her next closest sister, Purity. While Clarity is an exuberant, verbose young woman, Purity is her practical counterpart. She is excellent at providing her older sister with practical wisdom and offering the hero, Alex, Lord Hollidge, wonderful set-backs, such as describing his partnership with her at a ball as “Like dancing with a stick.” When Lord Hollidge is of a mind to select Purity as his bride (the reader will quickly rankle at his reasons for passing over Clarity), Purity does not allow that delusion to last long and her rebuke was one of my favorite scenes.

But who is this Lord Alex Hollidge and why is he such a stick in the mud? He grew up alongside the Diamonds, for their parents were fast friends. As children, he and Clarity Diamond were the best of pals until a tragic accident took the lives of his parents…and left Alex under his aunt’s guardianship. Alex’s aunt is the Cinderella’s stepmother character of the book and she does a wonderful job fulfilling this role. She has shaped her nephew into a cold, socially awkward, joyless man who is only interested for what a wife can do for him (provide an heir and help manage his estates, of course) rather than in finding an emotional connection.

However, to his great annoyance, Alex finds an emotional connection with Clarity–one he very much does not want and tries to ignore. Scorching desire blossoms between Clarity and Alex no matter how they try to resist it. Their enemies to lovers chemistry is red hot! Gradually Alex evolves from his original status as “A beast of the forest brought in by mistake” to a man finding healing in the renewed friendship and, later, arms of a now-grown-up woman who he comes to cherish in a whole new way.

I won’t spoil the mid-book twist but Clarity is a story of healing and redemption. It has wit and steam and so much suspense I had to speedread the second half in one go and ignore the clamor of my family!

Clarity is an emotional, romantic ride, and it will leave you desperate for more of the delightful Diamonds! I cannot wait for Purity’s story.

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