A LADY NEVER TELLS - CANDACE CAMP
The Willowmere Series , Book 1
Pocket Star Books
London , 1824
Following the tearful demise of their mother, the Bascombe girls find themselves in desperate straits. Remaining at their home in Three Corners, Pennsylvania in a position of dependency on their disreputable stepfather is hardly an option, yet their only known family long ago disowned their mother, Lady Flora Talbot, for eloping with Miles Bascombe.
Taking a gamble to appeal to the mercy of their estranged grandfather, rather than trusting the dubious principles of a lecherous stepfather, the girls sell what little they possess to purchase shipboard passage to England .
No sooner have they disembarked the ship, however, than they realize how lost and completely unprepared they are for the perils of the London docks. Cruel reality soon meets them head on when a thief steals the satchel containing all of the legal documents to prove their relationship to their grandfather.
Mary Bascombe, the eldest of the quartet, realizes all hope is lost without recovering their papers, and without further ado, lifts her skirts in hot pursuit of the thief. Camellia follows suit, after drawing the knife she wears strapped to her ankle, while Lily remains behind to guard the baggage, a long rifle resting on her lap. All of this naturally begs the question: Is London society really prepared for the knife-wielding, gun-toting Bascombe sisters?
Cousin Oliver, the utterly aristocratic and consummately self-possessed Earl of Stewkesbury, is soon faced with the dilemma of what to do with his American cousins, while Sir Royce Winslow, stepbrother to the earl, is drawn into the adventure as both a reluctant hero and a reticent lover to Marigold.
Mary, the bastion of the Bascombes, shines as the heroine throughout. The indomitable Mary is fiercely protective of her sisters and resolutely follows her heart, yet refuses to lose her sense of self, regardless of the social consequences.
Superbly written and well paced, A LADY NEVER TELLS thoroughly entertains as it follows the escapades of the Bascombe "bouquet" of Marigold, Rose, Camellia and Lily in their endeavor to make their way in upper crust London Society.