My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris

My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris is written in the style of a choose-your-own-adventure novel, meaning you’re given choices that then lead you down different plot paths. My Lady’s Choosing begins with a list of “important people” in the book, including the heroine: you, the reader!

YOU are you. The plucky, penniless, Regency-era London version.

Right away, the authors captured my attention, and I was glad I was going to get a humorous romance novel set in the past. Since I was reading this book aloud to my husband, I was careful to make sure we understood the six or so lead characters introduced before the story began. Then, we were off. As a paid companion, YOU must entertain the insufferable Lady Craven. But you make one friend, Lady Evangeline. Hanging out with Lady Evangeline, who knows you are trying to marry someone who will improve your station, means being introduced to different guys: the English rake, the Scottish orphan-lover, the trickster, etc.. What’s fun about reading My Lady’s Choosing to someone else is the spouse and I would discuss which choice to make when we hit a fork, and why.

When Sir Benedict is informed that his father’s marriage to his mother was not legally binding, thus making his newly-discovered half-brother the true heir, YOU have the choice of snooping around. If this new heir has a shifty story, you will find out! Or, do you take off with Lady Evangeline, who is apparently a treasured Egyptologist who can decipher hieroglyphics? Although mysteries are great fun, the spouse and I chose to head to Egypt. If we have to get married and settle down in Regency-era England, why not explore a bit first and have fun with our best friend? Besides, Sir Benedict is no one to us — he makes our loins hot, but we don’t like him! And off we went to Egypt.

The writing is silly in a self-aware way that may grate on some readers after a while. To be continuously amusing, silliness has to transform into wittiness. Because YOU have to get married or tempt dying in a gutter, the spouse and I weren’t sure what to expect, plot-wise, except that we had to find a marriageable man. The problem is, every guy YOU meet is perfectly sexy, hard, strong, and not afraid to have an erection under his pants with you right there. Hoo-boy. The guys all lacked nuance and depth, which made it feel like our choices were one silliness or another. I’m not sure I was excited about where to go when presented with two paths.

Just when I thought our leading lady would fall in lust with every guy she encountered, she did a 180 and surprised me, deciding she was in love with Lady Evangeline, too. The problem is her feelings came out of nowhere, and I even paused to ask the spouse if we had shown evidence before of even flirting with Lady E. My Lady’s Choosing is a cute idea, but I just wasn’t excited to be reading it (sure, my French, Scottish, and vapid accents were great, and I really nailed YOU), but I felt like I wasn’t invested in the survival of my Regency-era self when she just kept wanting to have sex with every character (save her employer, as far as I know).

When the spouse asked if I wanted to go back and see where other divergent paths would take us, I passed. Not only did I not want to read about anymore muscular chests or perfectly-green eyes, but there is no table of contents to get you back to a certain part in the book. You’d need a physical copy and book marks. I will say that there are some terrific quotes from My Lady’s Choosing on Goodreads in the reviews, so it’s possible that we just picked the most “meh” path forward.

35 comments

  1. I thought this book was really funny. I enjoyed it. But I agree that it’s better if you have a physical copy so you can go back to where you were and start over if you want to.

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    • It seems like every option took you to a different part of the globe. I wonder how the book would have been different if it remained in a much more limited setting, such as the opening party. The character (you!) could have talked to anyone and changed the course of the whole night.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm too bad about the characterization, but I do have to give the author credit for this clever idea. I haven’t come across many ‘choose your own adventure’ adult books, especially romances, so I like the premise!

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  3. I do like the idea of books that give readers some agency in the story, but it does sound frustrating that this one seemed to want you to take a certain path (marrying one of those interchangeable muscular guys) instead of giving a variety of equally explored choices. Also I do tend to ruin the CYOA experience for myself by trying to check out EVERY option simultaneously, which just doesn’t work! Rereading to choose different paths would make the most sense, but I never seem inclined to go through more than once.
    Great review!

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    • I always love the idea of being a character in a book, and so that opening line about me being the regency version of me cracked me up right away. If I had been braver in my MFA program, I probably would have written a choose-your-own type of story. Heck, I might do it now! I’ve got some ideas rolling around. I need to finish another story I’m working on first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It does sound like a fun writing project! A bit like a jigsaw puzzle, in novel form.
        And I do like the “you are the regency version of you” approach much better than the author trying to tell us we’re going to be someone very different than who we really are for the duration of the book!

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  4. I’ve never been a fan of choose your own adventure – my tastes are literary rather than action – but if you’re going to write one, well I’d definitely be a fan of that!

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    • I think the choose your own style could be put to good use, especially if you have a solid story in which a character had obvious decisions that fork dramatically and would drastically change the story. I don’t know that I would want to loop back around to previous sections, which is common in choose your own stories in order to make more use of the writing, but instead create more of a tree with branches.

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  5. The most amusing part to me about this review is that YOU actually consist of you and your spouse, and that the decision of which muscular man to wed is a negotiation 😂 The twist with Evangeline as a love interest is pretty interesting, if not well foreshadowed. I also like what you said about silliness having to transform to wittiness for it to be continuously amusing—I just love little turns of phrase like that that make me wonder about how I’ve previously read books.

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    • It’s true! YOU was totally an US 😀

      I have a lot to say about humor, including what is clever vs silly and what is commentary vs. punching down/bullying. The good comedians, the ones who stick in my heart, are brilliant and express it through humor. Richard Pryor, Christopher Titus, Lindy West, Wanda Sykes, George Carlin, Iliza Shlesinger, Samantha Irby, Marc Maron, Chris Rock, etc. etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a fun idea but Choose Your Own Adventure books always stressed me out as a kid because I wanted to know what all the possible endings were. I was definitely the type who put bookmarks at every fork in the road!

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  7. I haven’t read this, but I’m not surprised the characters seem one-dimensional. I don’t really associate pick-your-path books with stellar writing. I think the novelty is supposed to be in the choosing. Though maybe the one-dimensionality is satirical in this case…?

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    • Perhaps! I felt like the authors were headed in the right direction, but needed to rethink why they were going a certain direction. Did the narrator need to be whisked away somewhere to move the story forward? It starts in a room full of people, so she could have easily moved from group to group or changed rooms. If the characters had a bit more mystery about them (even if it was ham-handed mystery), I think I would have been more involved.

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  8. This book was on the list to read because I adored CYOA as a kid. I always had to read all the paths. I was hesitant to spend money on this because it doesn’t seem like it would be fun to read it more than once. I did want to read it out loud to the First Mate. I think at this point I would only read it if a library had a copy. I enjoyed this review and the comments though. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

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  9. Hahaha — I won’t lie, my first thought when you decided to jump off to Egypt was, “So, are you wooing Lady E?” Bam. turns out you were and it just didn’t make any sense in the context of the character development. UNTIL LATER.

    I am definitely going to check this book out of the library. I’m very intrigued. I recognize how it could be improved, but it just sounds fun. Did you and Nick ever get into spats about what choice you’d make? Like, aggressively disagree? If so, how did you decide who made the final choice?

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    • I’m smiling because I can’t imagine Nick and I aggressively disagreeing about anything. We disagree about things all the time, but we both acknowledge that there is a cost to each person no matter which decision is made. Which person will have to pay more? Then choose the option that costs less. I hope you enjoy this book and have fun with it. Perhaps you’ll go through and read it a few times, choosing different story lines each time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I imagine if I’m not reading aloud, I might make the time to get through a few rounds. I did that all the time with Choose Your Own Adventure. Only, the trick with those was I died all the times. So. It sounds like I cannot accidentally get killed in this CYOA. Probably smart.

        Liked by 1 person

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