A WINTER SCANDAL - Candace Camp
Legend of St. Dwynwen , Book 1
Chesley, England - 19th Century
It is said that if you pray to the statue of Saint Dwynwen at St. Margaret's Church in Chesley, your wish will be granted.
Althea Brainbridge, Thea to her friends, is a vicar's daughter and now lives with her vicar-brother, surreptitiously writing his sermons and supporting his parishioners in many ways. At the squire's Christmas ball, Thea is introduced to Lord Gabriel Morecombe. Afterward, humiliation swamps her. After all her daydreaming about Gabriel, he does not remember her from the first encounter ten years ago, doesn't remember the kiss they shared. At twenty-seven Thea considers herself a spinster. She assumes her plainness, her bookishness, and her spectacles will keep her unmarried. She is lonely, with no home of her own, and no prospects. However, the situation explodes when she discovers a baby in the manger placed for the Nativity play at church. Then, while the housekeeper is changing the abandoned baby, Thea discovers a brooch in the swaddling clothes tying the infant to Lord Morecombe. The baby is that reprobate's by-blow!
Gabriel and three friends are staying at the Priory, a property he has purchased from the debt-plagued Earl of Wofford. Wofford's son Ian is one of Gabriel's oldest and closest friends. Gabriel is shocked when, in front of his friends, a woman pushes herself into his parlor and accuses him of fathering the child she holds. He is more shocked when she shows him proof—the brooch he gave his sister. Joycelin had been engaged to his best friend, Lord Rawdon, but she disappeared a year ago without leaving either word or trail.
A WINTER SCANDAL tells a charming, sometimes suspenseful, tale of romance between a woman with no expectations and an entitled man. While Gabriel appears arrogant and rude, he has discovered all the wealth he possesses cannot solve the mystery surrounding his beloved sister's disappearance. Even if the baby Thea has named Matthew is Joycelin's, and Gabriel is sure Matthew is, he would never have turned her away no matter the scandal brewed. The mystery of what happened to Joycelin and who fathered Matthew drives the story, but discovering the true worth of Thea and Gabriel as people makes it a joyous Christmas tale.
Other characters, such as Thea's friend Mrs. Damaris Hunter, and Gabriel's friends Lord Ian, Sir Myles, Alan Carmichael, and former friend Lord Rawdon, round out a cast of suspects, rogues, and charmers, interesting in their attitudes, conversation, and future potential as heroes or heroines. This is a series to look forward to!