While the books of Emily Hendrickson have been consistently popular throughout the years, I must admit that they've not always been among my favorites. Certainly, her research cannot be faulted; one could spend many futile hours searching for an anachronism to pop up in one of her books. They are entirely accurate as to time and place and costume and speech, and the reader always knows where and when the story is set. These are elements I find essential in the enjoyment of a Regency novel, but yet, they aren't quite enough in themselves for complete enjoyment of a book.
This book, however, was a very pleasant surprise: I truly enjoyed every minute of it. It seemed to have more of a life of its own, perhaps, than her previous books. And, too, the main characters created more sparks than usual, it seemed to me.
When I was growing up, the preacher's kids were always the biggest hell-raisers in town. And while the heroine here, Miss Drusilla Herbert isn't exactly in that category, she's certainly no meek little mouse, either. Not by a long shot! She's smart, sensible, kind-hearted, and very out-spoken, when it seems appropriate, and perhaps sometimes when it isn't quite. She's a charmer, through and through.
As one of six children (of a parish rector, to be sure) she's learned tolerance along with her other skills and attributes, and when the Marchioness of Brentford (a schoolfriend of Drusilla's mother) needs a companion while recuperating from an illness, Drusilla would seem to fill the bill admirably. Off she goes to Brentford Court.
In London, meanwhile, Adrian, the current Marquess, hears tales of his mother's house party and new companion, which rub him entirely the wrong way. How dare his mother be having parties if she's supposed to be ill? And just who is this companion anyway? She needn't think she'll benefit in any way from tending his mother. Oh, no! He'll go home and straighten this matter out in short order, send the companion packing, and then be able to resume his active life in town once again.
Adrian's good friend, Lord Ives, joins the house-party as does the woman Adrian's mother thinks could just make a good next marchioness, the Lady Felicia Tait. There are also several older folks including Lord Osman, who's taken quite a shine to the current marchioness.
From their first meeting, the sparks fly between Adrian and Drusilla, much to the surprise of both of them. He thinks she's an interfering and meddlesome minx, and she thinks he's an uncaring town beau. Her tart tongue sets him straight as to his mother, but he still harbors doubts about Drusilla. She begins to wonder if her earlier assessment of him was correct, after all. Of course, she's hardly a suitable match for him, but then, there is Lord Ives who at least seems to appreciate her. Until he is drawn more and more to Lady Felicia.
This is the premise of this delightful house-party book, which departs from the norm with its cast of supporting characters, and a neat twist in the plot before all is revealed. We end up with not just one happy match, but three!