The Belles Dames Club/ Melinda Hammond/Robert Hale/ ISBN 978-0-7090-8272-9/£18.99 /223pgs/HB
Clarissa Wyckenham is en route to visit her stepmother Lady Wyckenham in London when she chances upon a young gentleman lying unconscious in a wood. He appears to have fallen from his horse but when she tries to help him he mistakes her for someone else. When he realises she is not Elizabeth his smile disappears and he censures her for being alone in the wood.
When Clarissa arrives at the house of the widowed Lady Wyckenham she discovers that something decidedly unusual is going on. Her stepmother has started a club for ladies, but it is a little more racy than would be thought proper if generally known. Clarissa immediately insists on joining, though as an unmarried lady this is scandalous behaviour, and as a member of the club becomes embroiled in some naughty adventures. Meanwhile, she has discovered the mysterious gentleman from the wood is the Earl of Alresford, who seems forever disapproving of all she does. Can Clarissa help rescue her stepmother from the clutches of an unpleasant gentlemen – and will the handsome earl show his true colours? This is a clever piece of Regency frivolity that will amuse from start to finish. A sparkling read. I recommend it and award five red roses. Morna