Annis Wychwood is 29. She’s beautiful, and has plenty of her own money, but she’s resolutely single. Plenty of men want her, but she hasn’t found a man that she’s willing to marry. So, she’s set up her own house in Bath, where she’s carved out a comfortable life for herself.
One fateful day, on her way back from her brother’s estate to Bath, she comes across a young man and woman in his broken down carriage. Lucilla has run away because she doesn’t wish to marry Ninian. Ninian feels the same, because the two have grown up like brother and sister, so when he stumbles across the plan, he feels obliged to accompany Lucilla in an attempt to retain her honor. Annis takes pity on the two youngsters, and takes them to Bath, where Lucilla ends up staying with her.
Lucilla is an orphan, and her guardian is her uncle, Oliver Carleton, a well known rake, who quickly arrives to see exactly who this woman that has taken in Lucilla is. Naturally, he and Annis fall in love.
This is the first time I can honestly say I wasn’t thoroughly delighted with a Georgette Heyer novel. I think it’s partially because the story is a bit too modern – I just couldn’t quite suspend my disbelieve that a woman as well born as Annis would fall that hard for a bad boy, and that he would be that willing to be reformed by the love of a good woman. It’s not a bad story, it’s just not as delightful as the other books of hers that I’ve read.
And, can I just say – 80s romance novel covers are awful! The edition I have was published in 1982, and the picture on the front, which I assume to be of Oliver and Annis, is hideous! I love the scifi and fantasy covers from that era, but the more realistic stuff is awful!