Escapist fun, yes, but it’s also firmly on the side of women and the ties that bind them. A delight to read.
This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for a list of books I’ve read so far.
I’ve enjoyed Australian romance author Anne Gracie’s work in the past, but she’s one of those authors whose backlist is so intimidating, I’ve never got around to catching up. I think that’s about to change after reading this book.
Abigail Chantry, orphaned young and whose parents were disowned by their families, has been living on the edge of respectability. When she’s accosted on the way home and told that her sister, Jane, is being kept against her will at a brothel, she has no choice but to rescue her sister and the two women who came to her aid—Daisy, who grew up in the brothel but wants to be a dressmaker, and Damaris, a missionary’s daughter sold to the brothel owner on her way home to England.
Unable to keep her post as a governess and desperate for money, Abby breaks into a nearby mansion. She finds it devoid of valuables, but discovers an invalid, Lady Beatrice Devenham, being mistreated by her servants. With the consent of Lady Beatrice, Abby and the girls connive to take over the household and nurse the old lady back to health.
Meanwhile, Lady Beatrice’s nephew, Max, receives word that her aunt is being neglected, and returns to England to find the household taken over by impostors—the Chance sisters, whom Lady Beatrice claims as nieces. Needless to say, he’s not impressed. Likewise, Abby is outraged at being accused of trying to fleece Lady Beatrice when it was Max who had failed to monitor his aunt’s welfare.
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