Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Regency England and young Elyza Leigh has been placed with a with a respectable lady, Mrs. Winlock, in London who has been charged with finding a suitable match for Elyza.
Elyza is pretty young woman but her particular looks are not in fashion at the time and she has been overlooked by the local eligible bachelors. On the other hand, Elyza is her father's sole offspring and will inherit a nice fortune. Which why Winlock has arranged for stodgy and boring Sir Edward Mottram, a young man who finds himself in need of an heiress, to ask for Elyza's hand. Elyza dresses herself in men's clothing and flees London, intending to take refuge with her aunt in Bath. But while traveling, Elyza lands in trouble when she is robbed of all her money. Fortunately, she encounters Cleve Redmayne, who sees through her disguise and is willing to rescue a maiden in distress.
Redmayne sensibly points out that no one can force Elyza to marry Mottram and he advises her to return to London. As her guardian, Mrs. Winlock is planning to shortly travel to Brighton and since Redmayne is also on his way to Brighton, he promises they will soon meet up again there.
Redmayne has returned to England after gaining his fortune in India. He became enamored of a girl he met briefly a few years before he left for India, Corinna Mayfield. Redmayne, son of a poor clergyman, plans to display his new-found wealth for Corinna's benefit and woo her to become his bride.
Once Elyza and Winlock are in Brighton, it doesn't take long for Elyza to realize that she has fallen in love with Redmayne. But Redmayne has his sights set on Corinna. Corinna seems dazzled by Redmayne's charm, good looks, wealth and his apparent fascination with herself. Elyza decides she must do everything to make her beloved happy even if that means giving him up to Corinna. But "the course of true love never did run smooth." So naturally there are complications involving blackmail and kidnapping and falls from grace.
This was a pretty good story. Elyza is a good-hearted, sweet girl who is willing to give up her own desires to ensure the happiness of the one she loves. Redmayne is portrayed as a handsome, athletic and accomplished man, but in view of his crush on Corinna, he is a bit lacking in judgment. The same of which can be said of Elyza, who preferred to run away rather than face her problems. Of course, they are destined for each other! A nice read, if a bit of a disappointment in the scene where Redmayne confronts the kidnapper which the author chooses to tell in a mere three paragraphs, instead of going into the juicy details. Other than that one disappointing section, the rest of the novel was quite satisfying and enjoyable.