Friday, January 15, 2010
The Country House Courtship
Title: The Country House Courtship
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
From the back cover:
It has been five years since Ariana Forsythe married the Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay. Now, Ariana's sister, Miss Beatrice Forsythe, is seventeen and determined to marry advantageously as well. (Surely Ariana's society connexions all but guarantee Beatrice's success-- especially if Mr. Mornay is created a baronet by the Prince Regent! Ariana would be Viscountess Mornay.)
But the Mornays have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about her business with the curate, Mr. O'Brien, whom Beatrice had rashly promised to marry years earlier? She is too sophisticated now to settle for a mere clergyman-- despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.
When Mr. Tristan Barton becomes tenant of the Manor House, Beatrice's hopes seem to have found their object. But when Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and pretenses that were easy to keep up in the darkness begin to crumble. As hearts are bared and truths uncovered, a country house courtship like no other cannot be far behind!
Leave it to Linore Burkard to pack not one, but three love stories within one romance novel. Ariana and Mr. Mornay are still deeply in love. Their romance is felt throughout these pages. It is heartening to see when they have children roaming about, guests visiting, and even when they disagree, how their love for one another has grown through the course of their marriage.
They also play a very important role in helping Beatrice choose the type of marriage she would like to have. Initially she only sees the surface qualities their marriage offered Ariana, but with time she realizes the love they share would have been the same no matter what their financial situation. She is then free to choose a man she loves whether he is wealthy or not.
Her research into the times is always second to none. When serious illness with terrible fevers sweeps through the cities and then into the country as well, the doctors at the time don't know how to treat it and many die. It was disheartening to hear how they were using bleeding, smothering people with blankets and avoiding even cool compresses.
This was a book about relationships more than anything else. The author beautifully captured the interplay between families, rivals, friends, husband and wife... and all done in an era where the rules were different but the heart doesn't change. I would love to say it was a perfect ending to the series she's written about this family, but I'm still considering a petition for more books. :o)
Posted by Margaret Metz at 3:55 AM