Governess Abigail Chantry will do anything to save her sister and two dearest friends from destitution, even if it means breaking into an empty mansion in the hope of finding something to sell. Instead of treasure, though, she finds the owner. Lady Beatrice Davenham, bedridden and neglected. Appalled, Abby rousts Lady Beatrice’s predatory servants and — with Lady Beatrice’s eager cooperation— the four young ladies become her “nieces,” neatly eliminating the threat of disaster for all concerned!
It’s the perfect situation, until Lady Beatrice’s dashing and arrogant nephew, Max, Lord Davenham, returns from the Orient — and discovers an impostor running his household…
I’m so pleased with the Australian cover for this book. They’ve got it all right, from the heroine’s hair to her jewellery, to the colour she’s wearing!
“I don’t understand.”
“No, you surely don’t, you blockhead. You’ve been so busy dashing about, being the gallant knight, routing enemies and fighting dragons, that you forgot about the heroine.”
I read this in March, and knew that early on it was going to be one of my top reads of the year.
Anne Gracie is a favourite author of mine. Somehow she manages to cover a lot of serious ground in books that also feature a strong romance and huge helpings of fun. The Autumn Bride was deservedly given a place on all kinds of “Best Of” lists last year, and was recently named a RITA Award finalist.
Coming off a spree of historical romance reads that had started to blend into each other in my mind, this book was such a breath of fresh air. If you’re coming into this expecting dukes to be feeling up respectable ladies in the corners of ballrooms you’ll be disappointed. If you want a charming story about a group of women down on their luck, an unexpected for them (for the reader, not so much) romance and an excellent depiction of Regency era London, then you’ll probably love this as much as I did.
I really love how much London was a character of this book. The author shows a strong understanding of aspects of the place that are usually glossed over or totally ignored in this genre.
Some readers who are familiar with historical romance might be surprised by this book. The first quarter was actually my favourite part of the book, though hero and heroine don’t really have any interactions. Sounds strange? You’d think so, but I dare you not to race through the pages of the four “sisters” and their elderly “aunt” finding each other. I could have read an entire book about just that.
But of course we have our gallant hero to meet (and his friends) and he does lots of gallant heroic stuff, particularly at the end. It was a lot of fun.
I really liked that even in the book’s more outrageous moments the characters continued to react the way you’d expect from people of the era. I love that Gracie always seems to create historically-appropriate dramas for her characters to overcome. The Year Without a Summer also played a bit of a part in the action.
I’m a big fan of Gracie’s Merridew Sisters series, and so was thrilled that a few of her characters from those books popped up here (not in an annoying in-your-face way).
Do I have a complaint? Well, yes. Any Australian who reads this is going to get the song Botany Bay stuck in their head when Daisy starts humming it!
Highly recommended for anybody who loves historical romance.