THE SPRING BRIDE – Anne Gracie
The Chance Sisters , Book 3 of 4
The spring Social season begins soon, and Lady Beatrice prepares to bring out her niece, Miss Jane Chance. Well, Jane is not really Lady Beatrice's niece—nor is her last name really Chance—she is one of the four girls the lady has taken under her wing…as they took her under theirs when she was in need. The four girls, two of them sisters, had banded together when they found each other when they were all in dire circumstances. And then things changed when Lady Beatrice's nephew returned to England and found them all barely making it. But that was a time ago. Two of the four, Abby and Damaris, are settled into happy marriages, leaving just Jane and Daisy living with Lady Beatrice in Mayfair. Unlike them, Jane is not looking for a love match. She saw how that turned out when her parents were cast out when they eloped against their parents' plans for them. They died in poverty when Abby and Jane were twelve and six. Jane wants someone who can offer her and her children a good and safe life. Before the first ball of the Season, she receives a formal offer from the wealthy Lord Cambury. Though her sisters urge her to put him off; he's rather short, pudgy, balding…and boring; they tell her she should wait until she's out and about. Jane, you see, is the most beautiful of them all, and sweet as well. They want her find someone she will love. But Jane finds Cambury kind, and he likes dogs. Surely love can come after marriage.
Zachary Black left home and a brutal father twelve years ago when he was sixteen. He's spent the last eight years on the continent as a spy for the Crown, often traveling undercover with the Gypsies. He's just returned to England to deliver some documents to Whitehall, planning to stay only a few days. His handler urges him, however, to see his family lawyers. His father died a while ago, and Zach's cousin has petitioned to have Zach declared dead. Not only that, Zach is wanted for the murder of his stepmother who went missing the same day as Zach. The lawyer urges Zach to lay low until his name can be cleared…and that better be soon, because he needs to prove to the courts he's alive.
With all good intentions to be least seen, Zach rescues a lady in danger in a back alley. It's our Jane, who was out shopping when she saw some young hooligans torturing a dog and foolishly ran to save it. Zach made short work of the thugs, but he was still in his Gypsy garb. Yet somehow, Jane doesn't fear him. And Zach forgets all his training. He's stunned by the beauty of Jane and her blue eyes. And the dog? He's about as ugly as a dog can be, but Jane has room in her heart for all God's creatures. One can only wonder how Lady Beatrice and her three cats(also some of Jane's rescued ) will feel about him, never mind the rest of the family.
Zach contrives to meet Jane and the dog in the park. Her maid and the big, burly footman who accompany her are not pleased. But as long as the murder charge hangs over his head, Zach can't reveal his true identity. In fact, everything depends on finding his stepmother alive before he can take his rightful place. This is the basis for a spellbinding plot line, yet there is much more. This is an Anne Gracie novel, after all, so expect wonderfully delineated characters, lots of heart and humor, all wrapped around a delightful romance.
One more Chance sister's story has yet to be told. Unlike Abby, Jane, and Damaris, Daisy is not well born. Actually, she was born and raised in a brothel where she was working as a maid when she had a hand in saving Jane and Damaris. Her burning ambition is not to find a husband. She wants to be the most fashionable dress maker in London…or the world. Alas, we must wait and see how that works out.