When her Aunt Louisa–never very capable–loses both her husband and his heir (her eldest stepson), the competent Miss Jane Ash rushes to town to offer aid and comfort. What she finds there is chaos: a household in uproar; the youngest stepson turning into a slick and foolish town sprig; the blind teenager Felix throwing fits and suffering from being coddled; a pair of daughters nearing their come-outs without being anywhere near ready for them; two devilish twins; a baby; and an hysterical widow who is certain that her husband’s next heir–the only stepson she’d sent away to be raised by his grandfather–is going to avenge himself by making her family’s life a misery.
Her fiance was tall, dark and handsome. A pity! When she wanted someone witty, kind and gentle.
–Cover Blurb, The Wicked Cousin
Byrony de Beaufre adores her cousin, Sir Lucas Bardine. Growing up on neighboring properties, they spent hours playing in their “castle,” an abandoned hermitage they discovered as children. Even now that Byrony is an adult and an Incomparable, she still regards Lucas as her closest friend–nevermind that he is grossly obese, chronically short of breath, and a figure of fun in society. He remains her kind, dear Lucas, whose generosity is unparalleled. He even rescued their charming, charismatic cousin Stephen from the slums and launched him in society. Then, Lucas vanishes without a trace. . .
“A most rewarding change from Assembly Room and Marriage Mart. Witty, humorous, concisely written, and far more true to the life of those times than most authors would dare. A bloody good read.”
I am opening a review, once again, with a quote from the back cover. Lady Elizabeth is the twenty-eight year old heroine, who has been left in charge of her multiple younger sisters after her father’s death a year earlier. Ever since, she’s been ensconced in the estate’s Dower House, distracted from her duties by her bizarre and remarkable hobby: astronomy. She has discovered a new comet during her nightly vigils, is in correspondance with the leading astronomers of the day, and is preparing to publish her first scientific article. In short, she is totally “unacceptable” as a woman. Then, the new Lord Clanross arrives. A dour, stiff man with a sharp tongue and a dubious background (the family’s black sheep who was never expected to inherit), Clanross quickly alienates Lady Elizabeth. Meanwhile, the charming Lord Bevis, whom Elizabeth refused to marry five years earlier, arrives on the scene. He still holds a torch for her, all these years later . . . Maybe there is hope that a man will accept Lady Elizabeth, in spite of her unnatural hobby?
When Meriel Hathaway is turned away without references from her first post as a governess, she has nowhere to turn. She lost her job for slapping her bratty charge after he poured ink all over her hair. Now, Meriel’s freakishly blue locks leave her few options for employment. Therefore, when handsome prankster Lord Farr approaches Meriel with an unusual gig–impersonating a castle ghost, the infamous, blue-skinned, blue-gowned, blue-haired “Lady Blue”–she cannot refuse his proposition.