Friday, June 17, 2011

A Lady’s Lesson In Scandal-Meredith Duran

A Lady’s Lesson In Scandal
Meredith Duran
Pocket, Jun 28 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451606935

Her dying mother stuns her poverty-stricken daughter Nell Whitby who works in a factory when she says go visit the Earl of Rushdon. When she does the new Earl Simon St. Maur is stunned at first sight and shows her why. She looks at a portrait of the missing heiress, Lady Katherine, daughter of the previous late Earl of Rushdon.

Simon offers Nell a deal. He will mentor her on proper behavior if she becomes his wife in a marriage of convenience so he can share in the wealth she would inherit. Ironically in spite of her looking identical to the lost heiress, Simon believes he is fostering a fake on Polite Society. However, he struggles to change her from pistol carrying slum dweller into an aristocratic lady. Worse he has fallen in love with his student who begins to question her first impression that her teacher is a scoundrel.

With a nod to Shaw’s Pygmalion, Anastasia and Dickens, this great Victorian romance looks deeply at factory conditions, medical care for poor women and children, and shelter in the slums inside a warm gender battle. Brave Nell is more than arrogant Simon’s match. With a terrific twist (no Dickens’ pun intended), readers will enjoy the mystery of whether Nell is the lost heir or not.

Harriet Klausner

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