THE WINTER BRIDE – Anne Gracie
The Chance Sisters , Book 2 of 4
Devon, England, 1816
Four young women alone in a dangerous world meet; two of them, Abby and Jane, are sisters; the other two, Damaris and Daisy, are newly met strangers. They come together and form an alliance to survive. In their desperation, they find Lady Beatrice Davenham, alone and neglected, and take her under their wings. In a short while Lady Bea's nephew, Max, Lord Davenham, returns to England and everything changes. Lady Bea returns to health and rejoins Society claiming the four girls—who have changed their last names to Chance—are her nieces. Max and Abby fall in love and are away on their honeymoon. Before leaving, Max asks his close friend and partner in their lucrative trading and shipping company, the Honorable Frederick Moncton-Coombes, to look after Lady Bea and the girls.
Now Freddy is a handsome young man, heir to a title and fortune and with a rakish reputation, who generally avoids respectable young women like the plague. But he's also reliable and loyal to his friends, and he agrees to take on the onerous job. This means he must attend the book club at Lady Bea's and escort the young ladies about town. Of the three, Aunt Bea is planning Jane's debut into Society in the coming Season. She's trying to convince Damaris to make her come-out as well, but she refuses. Daisy, the only one of the four who didn't originally come from a good background, is a talented designer and seamstress and is content to dress the others.
Freddy and Damaris have more in common than they know. They both successfully hide from everyone the deep wounds to their hearts and spirits. As they become better acquainted, however, they must hide the growing attraction they feel for the other. Another thing they have in common: for reasons of there own, they have vowed never to marry. They connive together to thwart Freddy's family's plans to shove him to the altar. And how does that work out, do you suppose?
Anne Gracie—long a favorite of mine—tells a moving tale of survival and love in her new series. (See also book one, THE AUTUMN BRIDE, though it's not really necessary to have read it to enjoy this one.) Ms. Gracie's touch is often light but always moving. Her name on the cover guarantees a great read.