18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Autumn Bride,
This review is from: The Autumn Bride (Chance Sisters Romances) (Mass Market Paperback)
I loved this entertaining nineteenth century romp, a rags to riches story.
Max, aged 18, is the new Lord Davenham, but his schooldays have come to a bitter end for he has inherited a pile of debt from his uncle, while his aunt may have to lose her home to pay the bills. It's his duty to find a way to placate the creditors. Abigail Chantry is just a governess in London, and when her sister Jane sends a message that she's being held captive in a brothel, she has to rescue Jane despite fearing for her position. She doesn't expect two more mistreated girls to tag along as well.
Max has prospered due to hard work and investment in the East Indies and now sets sail for London to visit his elderly aunt Beatrice. But Abigail and her three 'sisters' have inveigled their way in past the neglectful dishonest servants, and set up house to care for the malnourished old lady properly, including a new doctor who prescribes her exercise and excitement. Max has to believe that the four impostors are there under false pretences, taking advantage of his aunt's kindness and claiming to be her nieces. Anyway, he's betrothed, to a lady in Manchester he hasn't seen in nine years. And his well-bred friends have no intention of getting caught in parson's mousetrap.
Quotations from Jane Austen head each chapter of THE AUTUMN BRIDE, evoking the period. Lady Beatrice is an absolute treasure. Her formerly Titian locks have turned grey, and the girls introduce her to henna, so she declares firmly that her restored health has caused her hair to regain its colour. When her nephew moves them all to a smart Mayfair house, forbidding Beatrice to go visiting while he is away in Manchester, she starts a literary salon so Society calls on her. Suspense is maintained by having sinister men follow and attack Abby, while the romantic interest is wryly stymied by Max's meek fiancée being properly keen to marry, obliging him to keep his word.
I appreciated the very distinct characters, especially young Cockney Daisy, while Abby's willingness to become a burglar in extremity lifts her out of the ordinary for period heroines. Life was tough for all those without money in the nineteenth century, the difference being that only the lower classes starved. Anne Gracie has written an unusual adventure with a great sense of fun, and I suggest you pick it up, laugh and cheer. I did.