Category: Book Reviews

Mr. Darcy, An Alpha Male in Love

Vanessa here, exposing some of my pert opinions.

A man losing the battle of the heart is a thing of beauty.  When the male in question is an Alpha man, the dominant, powerful man of the group and protector of those dearest, his torment and ultimate victory is sheer poetry.

I love the classics, but I must say Dicken’s Pip (Great Expectations) languished too much without any measure of success with Estelle.  Pip doesn’t scream Alpha to me. An Alpha would have moved on or found away to convince Estelle to marry him.

Side note: To truly be a successful Alpha hero, you not only have to get the girl, but you have to live to tell about it. The whole dying thing, ruined Romeo and Juliet for me. I guess, I am a sucker for a happy ending, that is a happy ending with a breathing Alpha male.

So what is a good portrait of an Alpha male?

Mr. Darcy

.  He’s Jane Austen’s careful balance of natural male pride, protector, and fear. To surrender to love is a struggle that Darcy fights until he knows the battle is lost.

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth asks Darcy when he did he know he loved her. Darcy replies:

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

A collective sigh should leach from this blog screen.  Oh, if Laurence Olivier (1940) , Collin Firth (1995), or Matthew Macfadyen (2005) could have said those words, I’d have their version of Pride and Prejudice DVD on perpetual rewind.


Back to Darcy’s Struggle

Austen showed us glimpses of Darcy’s Alpha journey much more than the movies give credit.

At Netherfield during Jane’s convalescence:

Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange.

 

After an exchange of teasing between Darcy and Elizabeth at Netherfield:

Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.

The growth of his feelings are displayed in a private exchange with Miss Bingley at Netherfield:

Miss Bingley says: “As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”

Darcy replies: “It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.”

A Display of His Protective Nature for Elizabeth:

The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their (Bingley’s sisters) rudeness, and immediately said “This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue.”

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered: “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye.”

After a heated exchange with Elizabeth at Netherfield where Darcy’s messaging for sympathy before emotionally retreating:

Elizabeth said, “And your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

“Do let us have a little music,” cried Miss Bingley, tired of a conversation in which she had no share. “Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst?”

Her sister had not the smallest objection, and the pianoforte was opened; and Darcy, after a few moments’ recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.

Upon learning that Jane and Elizabeth would soon leave Netherfield, Darcy believes ignoring Elizabeth will solve his problem:

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked—and Miss Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual to himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it.

At the end of their famous dance at the ball of Netherfield:

“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly replied.

She said no more, and they went down the other dance and parted in silence; and on each side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.

 

Side Note: I love when an author uses the phrasing of a man’s breast. It sounds as if the emotions have penetrated his chest armor and gotten very deep inside.

Back to Darcy

The famous first proposal, his bold admission of losing his heart is classic Alpha trying to be in control when love has sent him spinning:

He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up, walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther, and, when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said:

“…I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.”

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it.

To attain peace cost Darcy two sheets of paper written in close hand, days of searching London;s underbelly, 10,000 pounds of bribe money, countless hours of recalling Elizabeth’s reproof. Priceless.

What I love the most is the sheer masculinity of Darcy’s regard. In a single breath, he tries to ram through the proposal and collect his acceptance. He’s all man as he tries to keep his feelings close to his waistcoat. Even as he exposes a bit of his heart to Elizabeth, he keeps his pride of his accomplishment and stature between them, a wall too high. Only the most ardent love will climb it.

And as he passes his black moment, he asserts to prove his worthiness with compassion and strength. He overcomes all of his own objections to save Elizabeth’s family and prove himself worthy. All alpha male, all the time.

Do you share my Alpha love? If you do leave a comment. Any one leaving a comment on this post or Fridays will receive on Saturday a link for a:

Free copy of Pride & Prejudice for the Kindle, Nook, or IPad.

I’ve formatted the Guttenberg Project’s version into ePub (Nook and IPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats. I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

References:

The Guttenberg Project

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice, 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production

Pride &Prejudice the Miniseries, 1995 BBC

Pride & Prejudice, 2005 StudioCanal/Focus Features

 

 

Originally posted 2012-05-02 10:00:00.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Shameless Plugs

Vanessa here,

The ladies of Regency Reflections have a lot to celebrate. Below are Awards, Upcoming Books, Current Releases, Contracted, Contest Wins, and Anything Else.

Awards

At The Romantic Time Conference, Reviewers Choice 2011 we celebrate these Inspirational Regency wins:

Category Series: Love Inspired Historical Reviewers Choice:

THE ARISTOCRAT'S LADY

Genre: Series, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Current Series Imprints

2011 Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical Award Winner

RT Rating

THE ARISTOCRAT’S LADY (4.5) by Mary Moore: Regency England: Nicole Beaumont has a secret she protects with every fiber of her being. She catches the eye of Lord Devlin, who thinks she’s incredible — witty and charming, with a good head on her shoulders. But he also suspects that she’s holding something back. When he discovers Nicole’s secret, he is hurt she did not trust him with it. Can Nicole regain his trust, or did her last chance at love slip through her fingers? This story is so good and the heroine so compelling that even readers who don’t normally like Regency-set stories will find it well worth their time.

Category: Inspirational Romance

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE
by Julie Klassen

2011 Inspirational Romance Award Winner

RT Rating

This book has scandal, mystery, secrets and a budding romance. The characters are written in such detail the reader will forget they are fictional! Klassen has outdone herself with this latest novel. Her writing is comparable to Jane Austen’s. She writes with passion and readers will not be able to put this book down.

In 1813, Mariah Aubrey has been banished to a distant relative’s estate after stirring up a scandal her family wanted to quietly bury. She is assigned to live in the gatehouse, which is on the very tip of the grounds, away from everyone and everything. She supports herself and her servant the only way she knows how: she writes novels in secret, under a false name.

Captain Matthew Bryant has leased the estate to show the woman he loves that he is worthy of her, despite the fact that her father believes Matthew is not high society enough for his daughter. When Matthew meets Mariah, he is intrigued by her but at the same time, he realizes he must keep his distance in order for his plans to come to fruition. When a mystery comes to light, Mariah and Matthew work together to discover the truth, and they start to have feelings for each other. Will the mystery be solved before the heir to the estate can put his evil plan into motion?

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

Cheers Mary & Julie

Upcoming Books

A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

(October 2012)

Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits–once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

Current Releases

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

(February 2012)

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Hometown Cinderella  by Ruth Axtell

(February 2012)

It’s not Regency but it’s by Ruth Axtell so it’s got to be good.

After years traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Keller wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Sanctuary for a Lady – by Naomi Rawlings

(April 2012)

It’s almost Regency, and it’s a great Debut Novel. Buy It. 🙂

Running to freedom, she found love . . .

The injured young woman that Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat, and in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal.

Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be . . .

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win Naomi’s book! Name will be drawn on Friday!

Contracted

Sarah Ladd signed a 3 book deal with Thomas Nelson for her debut series, Whispers on the Moors.  The first book, Heiress of Winterwood, will release next spring.  You go girl!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa Riley (moi) contracted Madeline’s Protector with White Rose Publishing/ Pelican Books. It will release this next spring. Here’s the blurb:

If all the young men of the world leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care because the nightmares would end, and she’d cozy up to a Psalm in her aunt’s sculpture garden. Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound changes everything, and Madeline must trust that the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Can she forge a bond with the stubborn earl before the next disaster strikes?

Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, vows to keep Madeline safe and in her place as a dutiful silent wife, but with her lips parted in prayer, his wife in-name-only and her faith are alluring. Maybe when he thwarts the danger, Justain can tempt the unpredictable miss with the comfort of his arms.

Contest Wins

Nothing to update here, but the year is still young.

Anything Else

Well, we really want to thank the readers of Regency Reflections. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, for sharing part of your day with us. We love it. Please keep coming back and help spread the Inspirational-Regency-Love.

Be Blessed.

 

Sources: Amazon.com, Romantic Times

 

Originally posted 2012-04-18 10:00:00.

A Review of “Jane Austen Knits”

The only thing more enjoyable than having a good hobby is having two good hobbies – and being able to indulge them both at the same time. That’s why I was so excited when I first got a glimpse of Interweave Knits’ special issue “Jane Austen Knits”. Regency history and needlecraft? The combination was as enticing as chocolate and coffee. (Some things are just made to go together.) But does “Jane Austen Knits” live up to its promise?

The Articles

If you’re more a history buff than a knitter, this is where you’ll find the meat of the publication. The magazine includes 8 articles and essays, ranging from the scholarly (“The Mighty Muslin” and “Regency Fashion in Color”) to the journalistic (like the profile of a woman who sells sewing patterns for Regency-era clothing).

My favorite of the articles is the essay that graces the last page of the publication: “Jane Austen, Multitasker” by Rebecca Dickson. It’s a loving profile of Austen herself, highlighting her work ethic both in her writing and in her needlecraft. Austen’s example is an encouragement to any woman trying to pursue a dream while also handling the mundane details of life.

The Patterns

This magazine contains a generous 36 patterns, and they’re all beautifully photographed. Instead of trying to reproduce period-accurate clothing, the patterns are instead simply inspired by Austen’s work, taking Regency details and translating them into wearable modern clothing.

Despite this modernization, I can certainly see Georgiana Darcy wearing her namesake shawlette, a gorgeous lace affair, or Elizabeth Bennet carrying the Diamond and Cross Reticule to a ball a Netherfield. More modern patterns include the sleek Elinor Tunic, and the exquisitely detailed Lambton Top and Fiori Pullover. Most of the rest of the patterns fall somewhere between the sensibilities of the 1800s and those of today.

On my own to-knit list? The simple Short Stays vest, the Woodhouse Spencer and, someday, when my knitting skills improve, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Meryton Coat, a beautifully stranded jacket inspired by the military uniforms of the era.

Conclusion

So, did “Jane Austen Knits” fulfill my hopes for a publication that promised to combine two of my favorite hobbies? Emphatically, yes. And, if you share my love of knitting and of Regency history, I’m happy to point out that it’s now on sale over at Interweave. I should also note: I bought my own copy of this magazine and haven’t been compensated for this review in any way. All opinions in this post are my own.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Originally posted 2012-03-07 10:00:00.

Retro Read: The Country Gentleman by Fiona Hill

The Country Gentleman by Fiona HillAnn Guilfoyleis a wealthy and independent young woman in Regency England, with her life planned before her. She opens her drawing room to what she considers the creme de la creme of thinking people and she intends to marry the exact right man. Then financial tragedy strikes and she finds herself 200 miles from London trying to settle herself into country life, a fate worse than death for a woman who considers herself sophisticated and intellectual. She thinks she can only mock thegentleman farmer Mr. Highet and his “gargantuan” mother. In short, Ann is a snob who thinks this country gentleman beneath her, yet when a different tragedy strikes, this one of the heart, she accepts his offer of help and her attitudes and heart begin to change.
This is not a story full of suspenseful, page-turning moments. The pace is almost as leisurely as the country life about which Hill writes. Yet the way in which Ann grows as a woman is so heart-warming, along with the love story, I have always listed this book among of my top fifty Regencies and worth the reread from time to time.
You will likely only find this sbook in llibraries or used bookstores. I’ve seen it for as little as $.01, which is a pity, and it is a quarter of a century old, definitely among the clean, sweet traditional Regencies of old, with an author who is a master character-driven storyteller.

Laurie Alice Shares A Secret

Laurie Alice here,

This month, I am writing about the first book I ever read by Jo Beverley, a book that got me hooked on Jo as an author.

The Stanforth Secrets.

Stanforth Secrets
Stanforth Secrets

Though the widowed Chloe Stanforth loves her house by the sea, a series of puzzling incidents has left her unsettled and anxious to find a new home. Her situation is complicated by the arrival of her husband’s cousin, for whom she has long harbored a deep and guilty attraction.

Back from the war, Justin Delamere hopes he can finally woo Chloe, until he suspects her guilty of treason-and murder. Can he trust the woman he’s always desired, and can Chloe surrender her most private secrets to the man who controls her freedom and now her heart?

As a long-time mystery lover, the notion of a Regency mystery thrilled me, and this book did not disappoint. I loved all the odd clues and details the author used, so Regency and so country-house mystery. She captures both genres well in this lovely little book.

A couple of months after I read this book, I met Jo Beverley. She had long since moved on from writing traditional Regencies. Indeed, Walker Publishing had stopped publishing Regencies by this time. I told Jo how much I enjoyed the book. After thanking me in her gracious way, she then told me she would never write such a book again. She said having to worry about everyone in the house was too much trouble. “You have to think about all the servants.” Spoken in her lovely Lancastrian accent, “servants” came out almost three syllables with the barest hint of an r on the first emphasized syllable.

The author charmed me nearly as much as that first book and most of her books since.

Although The Stanforth Secrets was published in 1989, it is now available on Amazon. Highly recommended to those who want a clean, traditional Regency romance along with a fun mystery.

Originally posted 9/28/2014.

Barbara Cartland’s “Curse of the Clan” Set in 1822

100_8609Dame Barbara Cartland wrote over 723 books.  Known for setting her novels in the Victorian era, she was an exceptionally popular novelist, peaking in the 1970s.  (I remember my mother reading her novels.)  After recently picking up two Cartland books at a used book sale, I was pleasantly surprised to find  The Curse of the Clan (published in 1977) to be quite satisfying.

Imagine my further delight that the novel is set in 1822.  Set in the late “Regency” to be sure, the tale follows an orphan who is elevated to the title of Scottish Duchess.  Her fearsome, yet handsome husband marries her to gain revenge upon a neighboring clan who foisted an adulterous, now-dead, wife upon him.

The story boomed along with vivid action and upon reflection, would make an excellent movie, if historical films were popular. The scenes at the orphanage, a carriage accident (which affected the plot), a shooting attack, revelation of her true parentage, then the winning over of the husband…all would make for a delightful, picturesque movie.
I got a real kick out of finally trying a Cartland book, and wouldn’t hesitate to read more –especially if I can ferret out which were set in the early 1800s.

Have you read any of Barbara Cartland’s books? What do you think?

Reminiscing about the traditional Regency novel

Hi, readers! Susan here with another blast from the past — 1987 to be exact. I expect many of you inspirational Regency-lovers are like me…you loved the older, clean Regencies that were so readily available a few decades ago, published by Signet (my faves), Zebra and the like.

In fact, my efforts toward a fiction-writing career began with a desire to try my hand at writing one of these thrilling, yet clean, romances…with a dash or more of the Christian faith included as a character developing element…sometimes even as a plot twist or a conflict-causing, stake-raising factor.

So today, I am bringing you a review of an old favorite, Mary Jo Putney’s “The Diabolical Baron.”

Book Cover
Book Cover

Don’t let the title throw you, the book is a charming tale of true love, the twists and turns and the happily ever after. With two attractive suitors trying to lay claim to her heart and a father insisting she marry for a fortune, she has deep waters to navigate all the while trying to protect her beloved sister.

If you can find this title, I believe it might be one of your favorites too — though it is not a true inspirational romance. My hopes are that the Regency genre will grow in popularity again, with Christian writers bringing it to the fore.

 

Blast from the Past: Marion Chesney’s Regency novels

Hi all, Susan Karsten here!

…Back from an absence of about four months (that pesky tax job). Since I enjoy Camy’s posts on older regency books so much, I am bringing you info about a book, and its author, and telling you about her extensive and delicious back-list of regency reading fun (over 90 titles). If the author Marion Chesney is not familiar to you — get thee to a bookstore — or library in this case — since she isn’t (boo-hoo) writing regencies anymore.

No, she now only writes fabulously popular cozy mysteries now and you may know her as M.C. Beaton. However, her regencies are GREAT, and with some digging, are still available to the avid fan. She’s got some of her backlist out as e-books lately, too.

Chesney’s debut (writing under her own name) book, which I happen to own, is “The Poor Relation.” Heroine and former debutante Amaryllis Duvane’s fortunes have sunk low and she is reduced to the status of serving her wealthier relatives. Her past love, the Marquess of Merechester, shows up to court one of these wicked stepsister types, and the drama begins.

100_6459

I’ll happily admit to being a huge fan of Chesney, in all her genres. But the chance to read one of her first efforts makes me admire her career trajectory even more. As one familiarizes oneself with her work, it’s clear that as she gained publishing popularity and confidence, more and more of Chesney’s delicious humor comes out on the page. I can only hope to instigate half as many snickers for my own readers…someday…when I make my debut!

If you’ve ever enjoyed Chesney’s regencies, please add a comment.

Susan Karsten

I

New Inspirational Regency and a Chance to Win

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match.

Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.

Intrigued? You should be!

That’s the description for the latest novel from our very own Michelle Griep.

Emily Payne doesn’t make a very flattering first impression on her temporary guardian, Nicholas Brentwood. Her second one isn’t much better.

He thinks she’s a spoiled excuse for a gentle lady and she thinks he’s a stuffy killjoy. What they both thought would a be a few weeks of escorting her to and from the stores quickly turns into a fight for their lives.

Before long their relationship is thrown into a territory neither is prepared to handle. Tragedy and danger have a way of doing that, after all.

So much more than a love story, Brentwood’s Ward will take you on a nail-biting adventure as justice and love try to prevail.

You have the opportunity to win a copy of Michelle’s latest tale by leaving a comment below. You can enter again on each post now through the end of next week. The winner will be chosen on February 28 and have their choice of print book or audiobook.

 

A Light Among Shadows by Tamela Hancock Murray

A Classic Regency Review by Laurie Alice Eakes

The first Christian Regency romance I read is A Light Among Shadows by Tamela  Hancock Murray. She is an agent now, but started out as an author and a good one at that.

LightAmongShadowsAt first read of this novel, I couldn’t figure out why the author chose the title A Light among Shadows. A few minutes’ reflection on the theme of the story was all I needed to realize that the title is thoroughly appropriate.

The obvious reference to light in this love story is the spiritual light of the heroine and hero’s faith in God. Even more so, however, Abigail, the classic Regency heroine with a head full of romantic dreams that conflict with her parents’ wishes for her, carries several torches that do not all relate to one another.

First, Abigail carries a romantic torch for Henry Hanover, a neighbor. He is her knight in shining armor who, in her dreams, will carry her away from a father besotted with his young wife, and that young wife, who, if not exactly a wicked stepmother, is certainly an annoying one. Despite seeming to agree to an elopement with Abigail, Henry doesn’t show up at the rendezvous, nearly dowsing Abigail’s life torch, when she waits in vain in the rain and becomes deathly ill.

Abigail, waiting cold and frightened in the darkness for a man the reader can guess isn’t going to show up, feels the shadows gathering around her. How can she continue to shine in her social and spiritual life if she is forced to marry the man her parents have arranged for her to wed, a dissolute gamester with a good name and fortune?

But Tedric, the erstwhile fiancée’s brother, rescues Abigail from the shadows, and her light emerges brighter than ever, so bright it spills over onto all with whom this heroine comes in contact. Maids, her self-seeking stepmother and, above all, Tedric find shadows banished from their lives under Abigail’s delightful blend of uppity gentry with charming innocence. Experiencing Abigail from her girlish entries in her diary to the final romantic revelations with the hero, gives a whole new meaning to “light” reading.