Christmas Awards 2011

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Dashing Miss Fairbanks





Miss Claire Fairchild was on her way to Bath and was trying to enjoy the scenery while lending half an ear to the constant chatter of her companion, Miss Venetia Goodwin.

Claire had escaped from the home of her sister and her children and was
intent on setting up her own establishment in Bath, much to the annoyance of her faithful abigail, Priddy. But with the company of Miss Godwin, Claire was convinced that all would be in order for her to do so. She was, after all, past twenty-three, very rich and very beautiful, so she had often been told. Probably past the age to marry, so why shouldn't she start to please herself?

London had grown hot and wearying and she longed for the freedom that an establishment of her own would, she hoped, give her. While still keeping up appearances, by having the companionship of a lady such as Miss Goodwin. But she was already tiring of hearing this Lady prattle on; she hoped that she would not regret her decision.

They were to stop at the Castle Inn in Marlborough for the night, where they would meet Miss Fairchild's agent, Mr Popham, who would it was hoped, have details of the perfect house for her to hire for the season, in Bath.

The business with Mr Popham had been very successful and the house he had found for her was eminently suitable, so Claire was looking forward to the
final part of their journey. A peaceful night was spent at the hotel and
when they had had their breakfast Claire and her companion, made their way to her coach. Once inside she realised that where Priddy was to have sat there was a large basket, which she did not recognise. She peeped inside and to her amazement a very healthy baby looked back at her.

After making enquiries at the hotel and sending servants to ask other
travellers, Claire soon realised that no mistake had been made; the baby had been placed in her coach deliberately. Claire thought long and hard but could think of no reason why the baby had been abandoned into her charge.

Eventually they arrived in Bath just one day late, after more fruitless
enquiries around the hotel. And also by engaging a young girl from the
hotel, who had recently lost her own baby, as a wet nurse to tend to young William until his rightful family could be found.

When getting out of the carriage in Bath Claire was seen holding the baby by a notorious gossip, Mrs Robottom, who lost no time in spreading the news that Miss Fairchild had arrived in Bath with an infant and no male partner.

Claire's life was to be greatly affected by this malicious gossip. Claire
felt there was something rather sinister about young William's sudden
arrival in her life, and she was worried for his sake as well as her own.

Later when she meets an old acquaintance, while walking in the park with the baby, she relates to him the strange story and he offers to help her solve the mystery. Claire is grateful and realises that she is still
attracted to Lord Richard Talbot.

This Regency romance is a good read being a little different from the normal romance. Will Claire's reputation survive the gossipmonger's tales, will little William be restored to his rightful family and will Claire find romance and happiness. It will be fun finding out the answers in this
delightful Regency romance I award this book 4.5 Red Roses AS.


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