THE MAD LORD'S DAUGHTER – Jane Goodger
England – 1862
Melissa Atwell has led a sheltered life for the past eighteen years—a very sheltered life. As a young child, her adoptive father locked her away in a suite of rooms in their home shortly after the death of her mother. Her father's explanation was that if anyone was to touch her, she could take ill and die. Educated, treated well, but only touched by people wearing gloves, Melissa is distraught when her father suddenly dies and the house is sold. With a terror-filled heart, she is whisked away from the only home she's ever known by her father's older brother to prepare her for her first Season, and a potential husband.
Tentative to embrace her new found freedom, Melissa is settled in the widowed Earl of Braddock's household; his son and a woman hired to chaperone her are her only companions. But to everyone's surprise, Melissa begins to relax and learn how to enjoy her new life. Much of this she attributes to Braddock's son, John, who has been tasked by his father to protect her. With the encouragement of Diane Stanhope, her chaperone, Melissa begins to fit into the real world.
John and his father are pragmatic about love. They know it is a fallacy, and they stick to their beliefs. Upon the arrival of two women into their household, one of whom is breathtakingly beautiful, the other hardly unattractive, the men steadfastly deny that either lady affects them in any way. All they must do is protect Melissa from Society and its cruelty and go on their merry ways. That's the plan, at any rate.
But Melissa's future is anything but secure. Secrets have a way of getting out, and John is determined to keep her secret from ruining her life. Can he do so and keep the promise he made to his father to protect her?
THE MAD LORD'S DAUGHTER is a must read for this summer! It is beautifully written with amazingly realistic characters, and a terrific premise. Melissa is vulnerable, but determined not to let anyone know just how vulnerable she is. Her sheltered life doesn't prepare her for love, especially a forbidden love. For John, a promise is a promise no matter how much it hurts. And the secondary romance is as bittersweet and tender as the primary one.
Don't miss THE MAD LORD'S DAUGHTER. Ms. Goodger has penned another excellent story.