The Wayward Debutant
Harlequin, Feb 2008, $5.99
In 1818 London her sister Beatrice and husband Charles Summerton sponsor Lady Eleanor Sinclair in her first season. Eleanor is the perfect model of behavior, but perhaps it is the pregnancy or having the young heir Mark that distracts her sponsors who remain ignorant that their guest is bored of the strict inane rules of high society.
Finally unable to remain sane, Eleanor sneaks out by herself to the theater as Jane Smith the governess. However, the play starts late worrying her that she might have to miss the last act. During the performance, she hears some silly woman behind her giggling out loud. She turns around to give her an irate stare only to see her handsome companion. He boldly introduces himself as the theater’s owner James Bentley but conceals that he is part of the affluent Stanton brood; she assays she is governess Miss Smith. As they fall in love, she fears he will dump her once she tells him who she is; he dreads the thought that she will love his money not him.
Regency romance readers will enjoy the second Sinclair sister tale (see REFORMING THE RAKE) as Eleanor is the one breaking the rules this time. She and James are fascinating characters as both have reasons to hide their identity from the other. Although that concept has been used a lot in historical romances, Sarah Elliot refreshes it with two likable lead protagonists who break all the rules on their way to love; so badly did she and Beatrice misbehave neither of their husbands want to sponsor the third sibling Helen’s season.