I approach every new author with trepidation: as I’ve said before, I’m a cautious reader who likes the tried and true…I tend, with apologies to the readers of this blog, not to review too many new-to-me authors. The fact is, duds outweigh the stars, but I have two new-to-me stars added to the auto-buy list: James Kestrel from my previous review and Alison Goodman.
What a gem of a romance-adventure-mystery these intrepid Ill-Mannered Ladies are. I admit to the superficiality of being attracted by the fabulous cover, but it’s as good on the page. To launch us into what makes this hybrid romance-intrigue-morality-tale, the blurbish details, which don’t do it justice:
Lady Augusta Colebrook, “Gus,” is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents itself: to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.
The sisters set out to Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.
Back in London, Gus can’t stop thinking about her unlikely (not to mention handsome) comrade-in-arms. She is convinced Lord Evan was falsely accused of murder, and she is going to prove it. She persuades Julia to join her in a quest to help Lord Evan, and others in need—society be damned! And so begins the beguiling secret life and adventures of the Colebrook twins. (more…)