Ladies Unlaced #1
The year is 1903 and heiress Louisa Stratton is returning home to England after a year of freedom gaddying about the continent with her best friend and maid, Kathleen. Returning home to Rosemont, the ancestral pile, with her is her 'husband,' Maxmillian Norwich, newly hired from the Evensong Agency. Capt. Charles Cooper, injured Boer War veteran, will impersonate Louisa's fictional husband created to mollify her horrified and stuffy aunt during the days Louisa lit the continent on fire with her escapades. Now Aunt Grace expects the adventuresome, 'poor little rich girl' and Maxmillian at Rosemont for the Christmas holidays...Captain Charles Cooper is no rich, cultured paragon invented by Louisa's fevered imagination, but is a product of the working class even if he had been selected to attend Harrow. Now he is a war veteran, injured in body and soul by the war and its atrocities, trying to drink the memories and nightmares away, intending to commit suicide and leave his family his journals explaining everything, and the large lucrative fee paid to him for masquerading as Maxmillian Norwich. As the dependable, heroic Charles and the effervescent, independent Louisa find their way to each other's arms, the magic of love and healing begins for them both. Yet all is not quite right at Rosemont: someone intends to do harm to Mr. and Mrs. Norwich.
IN THE ARMS OF THE HEIRESS is a historical romance novel not to be missed. The time period, the characters both primary and secondary, the writing, the humor, the suspense and the sensuality all add up to make this novel extraordinary. Louisa's such a fun heroine, madcap, vivacious, a 'Chattin' Stratton' as the hero calls her, imaginative, and oh, such a modern woman of 1903 with her fast automobile and views on sex. You will not want to say goodbye to Louisa and Charles! If you are looking for an entertaining, page-turning read, then IN THE ARMS OF THE HEIRESS is it!
Reviewed by Debora Hosey