Lady Elinor's Escape

Overview

Lady Elinor Ashworth has always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive, irrational, and dangerous aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, Elinor accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him. There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin's life, but he has never been able to turn his back ...
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Lady Elinor's Escape

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Overview

Lady Elinor Ashworth has always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive, irrational, and dangerous aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, Elinor accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him. There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin's life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a "rescuer" of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled by guilt over his failure to save the woman he once loved from her brutal husband. Now he cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress. But when Elinor's mysterious background is revealed, will Stephen find himself to be an eligible suitor?
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Editorial Reviews

Romance Reviews Today - Jani Brooks
With well-rounded and vital secondary characters and a simple but delightful premise, LADY ELINOR'S ESCAPE is a very enjoyable read. Ms. McLaughlin has once again created a tale rich with great characters and filled with romance, humor, and a twinge of sadness. Although this is the author's first Regency novel, she's done her research well. I highly recommend LADY ELINOR'S ESCAPE.
In The Library Reviews - Joyce Handzo
A charming story from start to finish, this book takes readers to London and shows them the contrasting lifestyles that existed during the 1800's… With an obvious knowledge of this time period, the author uses clothing, dialogue and setting to add realistic touches to the story. The current political situation is also alluded to, and the characters' actions are believable because they are based on life as it was..
captures the reader's interest with a lively story...
Crystal Reviews - Viviane Crystal
Fascinating in intelligent detail and lovely in its romantic charm, Lady Elinor's Escape is fast-paced in conflict and leisurely in its romantic suggestion - a sure delight for lovers of Regency romance novels and a fine presentation of this particular period of English society.
The Road to Romance - S. Khaw
LADY ELINOR'S ESCAPE was a sweet and pleasant read. The author throws in a little heartbreak and a bit of adventure that livens up the story and saves it from being overly sweet. The main characters are likeable, especially Elinor, who could have easily become an overly tragic character but instead stood up for herself and takes control over her own destiny... In the end, all of the story's loose ends are tied up nicely, and I can also see a possible sequel based on one of the minor characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592798568
  • Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 196

Meet the Author

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. She has traveled extensively within the United States and has visited Mexico, Canada, & Australia. A lifelong dream came true with a trip to England where she was able to combine sightseeing and theater with research for her novels. A native of Pittsburgh, she now lives in Southern California with her husband.

Linda writes historical and Regency romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward.

She also writes spicy and erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont.

Website:
Blog:
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

She might as well be in Newgate.

Lady Elinor Ashworth stared out the window of her bedchamber at acres of farmland sprouting new growth. Spring green brightened the vista, taunting her with the promise of freedom. After three long, lonely months trapped in this cottage, her spirit cried out for something more, something she could not name.

She glanced at the sketchbook in her lap. She had intended to draw the pastoral scene outside her window, but her hand had sketched a young lady forlornly staring through the panes of a window. A truer self-portrait had never been drawn.

Until the last few months, she had been allowed to wander alone through the Wiltshire countryside, but no longer. Not since Aunt Sarah came out of her melancholy and turned into a raving madwoman.

All her life Elinor had dreamed of adventure, so what she was planning to do should not daunt her in the slightest. She had read about people braving the ocean in small boats, exploring the jungles of Africa, searching for ancient artifacts in Egypt.

In contrast, stealing out of her aunt's house in the dark, walking to the nearest coaching inn and traveling by herself to London hardly qualified as an adventure. The merest of escapades, in fact. Or so she assured herself to calm the butterflies suddenly dancing in her stomach. Still, what other choice did she have?

But it all depended on Mimi's assistance.

Jumping up, she paced her small bedroom, eight steps forward, eight steps back, noting that the faced carpeting had begun to show the wear and tear of her impatience, a well-worn trail that led nowhere. Her immediate problem was finding a way to mail theletter to Mimi without her aunt knowing about it. In the past she'd been allowed to walk to the nearby village of Lacock, but lately…

With a sigh, she sat down behind her small desk and skimmed the letter she'd just written in decent, if not fluent, French.

Beechwood Cottage, Wiltshire
April 29, 1812
Dear Mimi,
I have quite made up my mind to come to London and hope I may stay with you for a while. I would not ask except there is no one else upon whom I may impose. It will be only for a short time, until I can find a way to join my father in Portugal.
I have not heard from him in several months and fear our letters are being intercepted by my Aunt Sarah, whose behavior has become quite unpredictable. She has come out of the deep melancholy she suffered after dear Uncle Thomas's death, but she is often not herself. She sees French spies around every turn of a country lane, and of late, has begun accusing me of spying for Napoleon.
That is not the whole story, but I will explain more when I see you. Dear friend, do say I may stay with you. I eagerly await your answer.
Warmly,
Your little Ellie

Elinor folded her letter and had just picked up the sealing wax when her aunt burst into the room. Her graying hair had escaped from its bun and there was a wild look in her blue eyes. Oh, no, it was one of those days.

Before Elinor could stand, her aunt strode to the desk and towered over her.

"There you are, missy, I've been looking for you. What is that?" She snatched the letter from Elinor's hand and looked at it. "Ah, ha! This is the proof I've been waiting for."

Elinor's heart thumped madly. "What are you talking about, Aunt Sarah? Proof of what?"

"Spying. Here it is, writ in your own hand."

Fighting to keep her voice level, Elinor said, "That is merely a letter to mother's former maid. She prefers I write in French as it is easier for her. Shall I read it aloud to you?" she asked, thankful Aunt Sarah had never learned the language.

Her aunt barked a humorless laugh. "As if you would read it true. No, you'd make up some innocuous nonsense about fashion."

Elinor said nothing, for it was true. She could hardly read what she'd written about her aunt to her face. "As you suggested, nonsense about fashion is all. I do rely on Mimi to keep me up to date, in the event I am ever allowed a London season."

"Oh, so that's what this is about," Lady Sarah said, her face red and blotchy with anger. "Hoping to get to London where you can meet with your Frenchy contacts? Well, not if I have something to say about it, missy." She pulled a tiny pistol from her pocket and waved it under Elinor's nose. "And if any of your friends show up here, I'll take care of them myself, see if I don't."

When she put the pistol back in her pocket, Elinor let out the breath she'd been holding. "Please, Aunt Sarah. It is clear that we do not rub along well together. Let me go to my papa in Portugal."

Her aunt's eyes gleamed with malice. "So eager to ingratiate yourself into diplomatic circles, are you, girl? What better spot for a French agent?" She started pacing the room, gesticulating wildly. "No, you'll get no help from me. I know your papa has been sending you secret information. Hard to believe my own brother a traitor."

Elinor jumped up, her heart pounding. "Oh, no, Aunt. Papa is as loyal as any good Englishman. And, as I have not heard from him in months, how could you know what he tells me in his letters? Unless you have intercepted them, that is."

Copyright © 2004 by Linda McLaughlin

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