Christmas Awards 2011

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Unaccomplished Lady Eleanor




This story begins in Nottingham in May 1815, Lady Eleanor Myres has been made very miserable by the appearance of her new stepmother Hester at the family home, Merryoaks.
Eleanor and her father had been very close for as long as she could remember, her mother having died when Eleanor was but eleven years old. They had shared poetry together, debated on the politics of the time and ridden together putting, all the less important details such as young ladies accomplishments, fashionable clothes and the more gentle arts taught to young ladies, to the back of their minds. But to Eleanor her life had been perfect, until her dour stepmother had moved into their home and spoilt everything. She had informed Eleanor that with a total lack of any of the accomplishments a young lady would need to find a husband she would likely be an old maid. To which Eleanor had replied that she was quite happy to remain unmarried and live at Merryoaks, Hester was not impressed with her answer and stated that she could not live with them forever.
So Eleanor was in a coach on her way to stay with her Godmother Lady Ormiston in Whitlock Castle, a grey and depressing place just a few miles from London.. Banished from her beloved Merryoaks to learn to be a lady ready to married off to any suitor that could be found for her, whether she liked him or not, the thought made her shiver.
The little that Eleanor could remember of her Godmother was not hopeful; it was of a booming voice and a terrifying elderly and stern lady. At last they had arrived and the coach drew to a shuddering halt, Eleanor peered out of the window to see the enormous illuminated castle cold and eerie surrounded by mist, the sight made her shiver and her heart sunk. Eleanor thought of the last time she had stayed at the castle, it had been six years before, when she was thirteen; she had broken her ankle when falling from a tree. Lady Ormiston had been exasperated with her tomboyish behaviour and had warned her father that he should take a stern hand with his daughter if she was ever to become a lady. After that stay they had not visited the Castle again much to her great relief. Eleanor’s heart sunk even lower and she felt her body chill, if only she could turn around and go home.
Standing in the great hall she was given directions to find her room, by Giles the stern looking butler. Staring around at the stately forbidding hall Eleanor wanted to run away, but to where? She had not been attending to the directions given to her so when Giles walked away with his last words ringing in her ears, Lady Orminston would expect her in the Drawing room in half an hour, she almost panicked, but pulling herself together she started forward to try and find her room wishing that she had paid more attention to Giles instructions. When she at last found her way she was pleasantly surprised in the room she had been given it was newly decorated light and airy, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad here for a while after all. But this lightening of her spirits was not to last for long, on the way back to finding the Drawing room she some how managed bump into a very rude young man who it turned out to be is her Godmother’s nephew. He laughs at her as her Godmother berates her for being so clumsy. Eleanor hopes that she doesn’t have to see much of this young man, but as he lives at the castle that is a vain hope.
Things are to go from bad to worse as her Godmother embarrasses her in front of other guests in the evening. Pulling not only her old outdated clothes to pieces but also her character, Eleanor is very lonely and desperately longs to go home to Merryoaks.
Can Eleanor possibly find happiness at the dreadful castle and with the people who are living or staying there, will she be married off to the first man to ask for her hand, whoever he is? I have really enjoyed this unusual regency romance with some very surprising events and wholeheartedly recommend it to all regency lovers.
I award this book 5 Roses AS

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