NO CONVENTIONAL MISS – Eleanor Webster
England – 1817
Reluctant debutant Amaryllis (Rilla) Gibson and her younger sister Imogen, who is far from reluctant, are under the care of Lady Wyburn as they are presented to the ton . Much to her dismay, this also means she will often be in the company of Lady Wyburn's stepson, Paul Lindsey, Viscount Wyburn. His cool demeanor annoys her, although their first meeting consisted of Rilla falling out of a tree and practically landing on the viscount. Rilla has no use for Society, but she knows her sister is crazy about being presented. The secret that Rilla has leaves her convinced that a normal life of marriage, children, and love is not in her future. She has sudden visions that she cannot explain, but they almost always include dead people. Rilla is also a rather clever inventor, and her latest project is a water-run butter churn, which she is hoping to improve.
Paul's past has made him appear cold and distant. His mother died when he was young, and his memories haunt him. Love has no place in his life. Saddled with the Gibson sisters in London, Paul begins to notice the independent, outspoken, and quite lovely Rilla. Her boldness and honesty with him surprise him, and he's amazed that those attributes intrigue him.
Rilla's father is in debt to a rather odious young earl, Jack St. John, who grew up near the Gibson homestead. He is vaguely aware of Rilla's abilities, and his veiled threats to expose her to the ton have her worried, especially since the viscount has been showing an interest in her. When Rilla and Paul are caught in a compromising situation, everything changes.
NO CONVENTIONAL MISS is a truly delightful tale. Its unique premise and well written characters caught my interest from page one. Will Paul discover Rilla's secret? Can he ever get over his childhood memories? Will Rilla ever perfect that butter churn?
I loved the main characters, and the secondary players were equally interesting. NO CONVENTIONAL MISS is highly recommended to anyone who loves a fun, romantic, and different story.