Christmas Awards 2011

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Cloisonne Locket

ISBN 978-0-7090-8462-4

Miss Rosemary Barton orphaned at the age of ten years has been raised since that time by her Father’s sister, Mrs Mary Fleming. Mrs Fleming having a daughter Eleanor, just two years older than Rosemary and a son Henry of twenty two. They had been raised as brother and sisters. But now it was time that the girls were looking for husbands and although the Fleming’s did not intend to give the girls a London season, they would be making their debut in their local society in Kent. They also intended to have a small ball for them, during their season.

Rosemary, whose mother was Spanish, had a rare beauty with deep blue eyes, luxurious black hair and a slightly darker complexion than her cousin. This exotic sensuous beauty would put Eleanor completely in the shade, LadyAgatha Williams who was an old friend of Mrs Flemming and was at the moment was visiting the family, pointed out. Mrs Fleming, who had never considered her niece a beauty because of her darker complexion and hair colouring, preferred the pale complexion, and fairer hair which her daughter had of a typical English rose. Having had this difference in the girls pointed out to her and also being told by her childhood friend that every man who came in contact with Rosemary could not take their eyes off of her, this included the Vicar. Mrs Fleming was horrified and began watching her niece carefully. She realised that the attraction, which men felt towards her niece, was not encouraged at all by Rosemary who was completely unaware of her beauty and obvious sensuality.

Lady Agatha Williams secretly thought it would be a terrible shame if Rosemary was not allowed to blossom, with a London season. She asked if there was no one who could take responsibility for Rosemary so that both girls could have their season, but apart. Mary Flemming thought hard and long about the difficulties ahead if Rosemary and Eleanor were brought out together and at last came up with what she hoped could be a solution. A distant cousin, who was a known recluse and had no children of her own, may be persuaded to take Rosemary on. Rosemary being a considerable heiress would not be a pull on her purse strings and she was a well-mannered biddable girl who would be no trouble to the cousin. Mary Flemming wrote at once to Lady Emily Cranston.

Rosemary travelled to London with Lady Agatha Williams and her maid. Lady Agatha, had formed an affection for Rosemary and had she not been about to leave the country with her Diplomat husband, she would herself have delighted in giving Rosemary her London season. However she decided that she would see the girl was well established in the ton, in the short time that she could be with her, before leaving England.

The shock that Rosemary felt when they stopped outside of the tall forbidding house, she was now to call home, was no less than Lady Agatha felt as she accompanied the young girl into the dark and unwelcoming town house in Berkley Square.

Lady Emily Cranston was not at all welcoming and spoke very little to either Rosemary or Lady Agatha and after a very short interview said abruptly that Rosemary would now be shown to her room and Lady Agatha the door. As she drove away Lady Agatha was very worried about Rosemary’s future and determined to help in any way she could to ensure a happy outcome for the beautiful orphan.

During her life in Berkley Square Rosemary was to be very unhappy and in some considerable danger. Why did the bad tempered Lady Emily agree to house Rosemary when she obviously disliked anyone’s company other than her dog Prinny, a great Bullmastiff, who was as unfriendly as his mistress. Why did she finger a cloisonnĂ© locket which she wore around her throat every day and why did Rosemary see a look of sheer hatred, when she unexpectedly one day, looked up at her hostess? And why did Lady Emily watch the house across the Square through a telescope? How can Rosemary possibly find the happiness she deserves in this situation and with only one friend in London, to watch over her?

This Historical Romance has a good story line and is told with flare, a book to enjoy, it will give much pleasure to lovers of this genre. I happily award this book five Red Roses and look forward to the next book from author Barbara Hazard. AS.
When you get a five red roses from this reviewer is means the book is Special! Linda

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