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Fairchild Kindle Edition
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Ten year old Sophy was a little hoyden living out a somewhat pleasant life in the little village of Bottom End with her mother who was the village school teacher. They lived in a neat little cottage, Sophy never had to wear second hand shoes and they had a cook and a piano. It was a good life. The only thing that perplexed Sophy was that her mother, Fanny Prescott, was supposedly a widow, but when Sophy attempted to check on her father who was a navy officer, she could never find him on the naval lists.
Just as Sophy was about to get the courage to inquire further about her father - a subject made even more pressing once village rumors began to abound that Sophy was a "bastard," her mother choked on a a chestnut and died. Within the next few days Sophy's life would forever be changed. It seems she was the illegitimate child of Lord Fairchild, in whose home her mother had worked 11 years previously. Although Sophy's mom had removed herself from Lord Fairchild's estate, after regretting her part in the relationship, Lord Fairchild continued to send funds to Fanny each month for Fanny's and Sophy's support.
Fanny had left instructions for Lord Fairchild to be contacted in the event of her death. For the first time in her life, Sophy realizes she has a living father. Within a few days, a carriage arrives to take Sophy to her new home where she will be raised with Lord Fairchild's family consisting of Lord and Lady Fairchild and their two children - a young man named Jasper and a young girl named Henrietta - both a few years older than Sophy.
Although Lady Fairchild is not pleased to have Sophy in the family home, Sophy is treated very well by all the family including Lady Fairchild. Lord Fairchild longs to have a close relationship with Sophy but doesn't know exactly how to go about it. Jasper and Sophy and Henrietta love one another as true siblings and Sophy is without a doubt Jasper's favorite family member. Sounds great, doesn't it? In fact, it was a good life considering Sophy's antecedents. There is very little strife except the continuing undercurrent that all is not well between Lord and Lady Fairchild - the reader is led to believe that whatever problems were in their relationship preceded Lord Fairchild's and Fanny's relationship.
Concurrently with the above, The Fairchild family have a wealthy neighboring family - the Bagshot Family. Due to the fact the Bagshots are merchant class, the Fairchild family members have never associated with the Bagshots in any way - not even to speak to one another. Tom Bagshot is close in age to Jaspar but they have never even met. During Tom's childhood and youth, Tom's father had tried everything within his power to "turn" Tom into a gentleman by making sure he attended the best school possible, etc. It didn't work - Tom was bullied for years until finally he was done with bullies and school. Tom's first love aside from his parents has always been working and making money and he wants to get started. His father relents and Tom spends years free to do what he loves - making lots of money.
Tom's and Sophy's lives become intertwined at the same time Lady Fairchild, bored with her life, decides to take Sophy on as her latest project and give her a London Season. In fact, Lady Fairchild becomes so enamoured with Sophy, it's almost as though Sophy is her favorite child. It's very interesting to note that Lady Fairchild, although resenting the circumstances that caused Sophy's birth, doesn't pass that resentment through to Sophy.
Due to circumstances best explained in the book, Tom and Sophy become friends and Tom follows Sophy to London hoping to get a glimpse of the girl who has enchanted him. Eventually, they run into one another but by that time, Sophy's parents have chosen another man for Sophy to wed. Tom doesn't know that Sophy is illegitimate because Sophy led him to believe she was Lady Fairchild's daughter. Jaspar has met Tom but snubs him until Tom gets Jaspar and his friends out of a really rough spot in a low-end pub at which point, the reader begins to see how Tom and Sophy might actually manage to be together.
Last comments: This book had a great storyline, great characters, but there was definitely something lacking that was vital to the story. I've thought and thought about what this "lack" is/was. I can only describe it as being a story full of great characters, but lacking the ability to enjoin the reader into the skin of the characters enough to understand what made them tick, including much of Sophy's and Tom characters. For me, this lack is why I am giving the book 3 stars as opposed to a minimum of four and possibly five. I would definitely be interested in reading Jaspar's story should Ms. Fixsen consider writing his book.
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