Christmas Awards 2011

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Lady Jane's Ribbons






London in 1820 was a somewhat divided city, there were riots in the streets, some supporting the Queen, Caroline of Brunswick, who had taken a low born Italian lover and had been exiled to the continent by her husband. Others supported the King, who was also guilty of taking lovers. The majority of the people could overlook the Kings lapses, but not so for the Queen. Caroline had been offered money to stay away from England but she had decided to return and claim her place as Queen of England.

The noise outside of Lady Jane Derwent’s bedroom window made her fling her bedclothes back off of the bed as she heard windows being smashed, it was a frightening experience especially as her brother Henry, was not in the house. She looked out of her window being careful to stay behind the curtains, the street was full of the Queen’s supporters, for she had just returned to England and was staying with Sir Matthew Wood, a neighbour of Sir Henry’s. As the crowd cheered, because the Queen had appeared on the Balcony opposite to Lady Jane’s window, Sir Henry’s curricle came smartly down the street. Jane held her breath, would his curricle be safe in this volatile gathering. But as the carriage drew to a halt and two men alighted the crowd turned and cheered them. Jane drew a breath of relief, but when she recognized her brother’s companion her heart stood still and she drew back from the window, hoping that she had not been seen.

The man with her brother was the very person she had flown from six months ago. She had been briefly engaged to Lewis Ardenly, but after receiving a visit from Lewis’s mistress, Alicia the Duchess of Brantingham informing her that he had only offered for Jane because it was his dying father’s wish, she had ended the engagement and retreated home to Cheshire, to mend a broken heart.

Jane caught her breath she knew that she must face Lewis sooner or later but on her very first day back, it was too much. However she realized that they must have seen her light through the open curtains, so she dressed quickly and descended the stairs, her heart pounding in her chest. She knew that she still loved him and always would, no matter what he had done, but he must never be allowed to guess it.

Charles Moncarm Marquis of Bourrton, who was her brother’s closest friend, was very much in love with Jane and although she liked him as a friend, she knew she could not marry him as she was still in love with Lewis. During her time in London Charles was to ask her several times to be his wife, but she had not come back to London to be courted, she had come back to try to persuade her brother to stop neglecting his FiancĂ©e Blanche Lyndon in favour of his coaching madness. Jane was sure that Henry really did love Blanche but she knew that because of his seeming indifference to her, Blanche’s father was pushing a certain Lord Dursley, who was a known fortune hunter and libertine, in her way.

Henry’s madness for coaching was causing Blanche much unhappiness Jane knew and she determined to try to teach him a lesson. There was a coaching race to be run from London to Brighton, with a prize of £50,000 put up by Sir Henry Derwent himself. Mr. Chapman and Sir Henry Derwent were so far the only two entrants. Mr. Chapman was an unscrupulous person and played many dirty tricks on Rival coaching businesses, trying to put them out of business. Both of the contestants had new coaches being built and they were being kept very secret. How was Jane going to teach her brother a lesson she puzzled, without letting the unscrupulous Mr. Chapman win the prize. It was a question to which she must find an answer and quickly too if she was to save Henry’s engagement to Blanche.

There are many hurdles for Jane to negotiate before she can attain her goal. While she is trying to save her brother from his foolhardiness she also has to determine the needs of her own heart, life is not easy for Jane and she has many setbacks before she can at last find peace and hopefully happiness. This book is somewhat different and delves into the coaching lines which were the most popular way of travel in this age. I hope that you will read this book from a very popular author and enjoy it as I have. I award this book 5 Red Roses. AS

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