This book was first published in 1991, according to Goodreads, one of a whole swathe of the author’s books now being re-released in Kindle versions. Not surprisingly, it’s a very traditional style of story, focusing on the London season, Almack’s, drives through Hyde Park, morning calls and so forth. For anyone looking longingly for a Georgette Heyer substitute, this is a very good alternative, featuring many of the same types of characters, setpiece scenes and witty dialogue. In fact, there are echoes of Frederica, Black Sheep, Venetia and Arabella along the way.
Now, at first sight this is a peculiar response to the death of his sister, but the author makes a good case for a man who is emotionally unbalanced and makes an irrational decision on the spot to marry and settle down to home and family. I won’t spoil the surprise by spelling out how this odd courtship progresses, but suffice it to say that there is an ample sufficiency of marriages and betrothals by the end of the book, and each one of them very appropriate for the couple concerned.
There are some plot oddities, like the girl rescued from likely prostitution by the heroine and never mentioned again, and the brother, Lee, whose only purpose seemed to be to draw Lord Malvern into the Farrish’s circle, since he was largely forgotten thereafter. This won’t suit anyone looking for a modern style of story, with an independent heroine and a respectful-of-women hero. This is the old-fashioned kind, where the women are all aiming to make good marriages and the men are strong and borderline domineering, while remaining terribly gentlemanlike, but it’s an excellent example of the type, very Heyer-esque, and well written with only a light sprinkle of Americanisms. Five stars.