Kevin Whattling is one step away from Debtor’s Prison, and the only thing that can save him is marriage to an heiress–and fast! To that purpose, he reviews the possible candidates and, to his friends’ shock, selects Miss Eugennia Welch. They hardly seem a suitable match. After all, Kevin is a well-known Corinthian, and Eugennia is the epitome of a bluestocking–and notoriously eccentric at that. However, Kevin arrives–freely admitting his financial distress and subsequent desire to woo her–right as Eugennia is wondering what it would be like if Prince Charming showed up on her doorstep. So, what can be the harm in giving Kevin a chance? She might even learn a little something about boxing along the way.
Joanna Patterson and and Lord Sedgewick Wylie are as different as can be. The former is a clumsy, wool-gathering, bespectacled vicar’s daughter with a tendency to stammer when she’s flustered. Sedge is the pinnacle of fashion, and he can make or break a person’s reputation with a sharp word and a critical glace through his quizzing glass. All Joanna wants is to successfully find a suitable husband for her charge, Harriet. If only she could stop colliding with Sedge–literally–and navigate London society without making a complete cake of herself . . .
“If only men were honest when they proposed to me!” Harriet cried. “If only one of them would say ‘Miss Ashley, I adore your fortune. May I marry it?'”
I begin this review by excerpting the blurb from the back cover of A Lady of Fortune because it captures the spirit of the heroine, the orphaned heiress Harriet Ashley. Previously plump, plain (aside from her gorgeous long red hair, of course), and recovering from a bout of consumption that has left her rail-thin, Harriet knows that all twenty men who have proposed to her have looked at marriage merely as a business transaction. But Harriet wants something more, so she comes up with an outrageous scheme to get her way.
Catherine Prescott D’Eauville, a wealthy American heiress, has just arrived in England to fullfil her father’s ambitions: to establish herself in society by marrying a impoverished English peer. No one with a rank lower than “Earl” need apply. Meanwhile, the independent-minded, unconventional, and adventurous Cat aims to satisfy herself by wedding a man complacent enough not to interfere with her own desires for freedom and world-travel. However, she does not anticipate meeting the intelligent and charming Lord Weyland, who fails to meet any of the criteria on her carefully composed “List.”