MISS FRANCIE'S FOLLY - Fran Baker
Leaving the girls' school she started three years ago, Francie Hampton rushed to London to prevent her sister Mary from marrying the man Francie jilted just before starting her school. When she found out from her best friend that Sir Thomas Spencer was keeping his mistress, Francie, owner of a temper to match her red hair, ended their betrothal in the middle of their engagement ball.
What is Mary thinking to even consider marrying a womanizer like Thomas? Mary informs Francie that she must marry, but it is strictly a marriage of convenience, they do not love one another. Their father, Mr. Hampton, made some very bad investments, and Sir Spencer has loaned him twenty-thousand pounds in exchange for combining their families in marriage. Francie, along with her temper, has a talent for managing and manipulation others, so she determines to thwart this marriage. Their mother, unable to handle the arrangements, leaves all preparations for an engagement ball and the wedding to Francie.
Sir Thomas Spencer is just as handsome as Francie remembers and even more provoking. He treats Francie with anger, contempt, and moments of annoying tenderness. Francie believes she hates Thomas, especially when his infuriating, often sly comments wound her. He seems determined to marry Mary. However, his moments of warmth and accord stir other emotions Francie knows she must ignore.
Francie's father plays a miniscule part in the story after causing the current debacle. Her indolent mother seems like another burden and obstacle with which Francie must deal. Biddable Mary will do whatever her parents tell her to do. As all Francie's manipulations and arrangements fall apart and a wedding becomes more probable, a reader begins to wonder if there is not someone else pulling strings in the background…
MISS FRANCIE'S FOLLY is a wonderful story of misbehavior in a society that stresses correct etiquette. The story is full of emotional scenes and untoward developments everyone who loves Regency romances will enjoy.