Pre-WWI London is full of balls, balls, and more balls. It’s a social whirlwind, this so-called Season, in which parents of daughter parade their progeny in hopes of securing advantageous unions.
Such is the case for three young women: Ada, Charlotte, and Rose.
Ada’s situation is a bit more fixed than her peers’. She has a beau, and they are engaged. If her heart does not thrill at his sight and if her legs do not go weak at his kiss, well, that’s okay, right? This isn’t supposed to be about passion. If it was, she’d be with Ravi, the Indian boy she met and fell for before being separated. Ravi can’t help her family’s precarious financial situation, but Lord Fintan can, and Ada is nothing if not a good daughter.
It isn’t as if Lord Fintan does not have any admirers. Charlotte, Ada’s stepsister, covets him. They have enjoyed quite a few assignations, and these two are passionately drawn to each other. Charlotte is not amused that Lord Fintan won’t marry her (nor are the reasons for his engagement to Ada made clear enough to ring true), so she decides to make a play for Scottish duke Alexander Ross, a rake and a rogue, and an enemy of Fintan’s. It’s an old play, but one Charlotte feels she must put into action.
Unfortunately for her, Alexander has his eye on someone: Rose, her new step sister of sorts. Rose’s mother was a maid to Ada’s father, and, well. Let’s just say that Daddy got busy with the help. Fortunately, he isn’t a bad man, and he claimed Rose’s paternity, propelling her socially into a world she heretofore had viewed behind-the-scenes.
There are other characters involved – quite a few, so you may need to create a chart to keep up with them. But Rose, Ada, and Charlotte have the central focus. Will Ada find her way to happiness with Fintan? Will Charlotte’s plan work? And what about Rose and Alexander? Can the rogue prove there is more to him?
There isn’t much to this book, aside from its hefty page count. It’s a breezy, fun story that does occasionally require you to suspend belief. But for teenage girls aching for romance, balls, and handsome boys, you could do worse. The characters are fun – even Charlotte – and you find yourself getting caught up in their stories. Yes, you may forget them all once you finish, but that’s okay too. Sometimes you just need entertainment, and this one provides it.