Who will be the next Earl? When Patrick, Earl of Aylesford is killed in a riding accident, they have to wait for his child to be born. If it's a boy he will inherit. If not the title goes to Lord Patrick's brother Martin, but he is in America, sent to Canada to avoid gambling and other debts, but he left there, and has not been heard of for some time. The next heir is cousin Etienne, blamed by some for Patrick's death. Then Martin's wife Elodie and young son Charles appear, saying Martin is dead.
Patrick's widow Margaret, her sister Helena, who is due to make her come-out in the following year, and his mother the redoubtable Dowager, react in various ways. Patrick's mother, the Dowager, is avaricious. Her father was a wealthy Lancashire coal mine owner and shipping magnate, but his son is no businessman, and one of his grandsons is piling up debts in London. The firm is in trouble.
Etienne, meanwhile, having been spying for the Government in Napoleonic France, is back at home and helping his sister Diane to introduce her daughter Sylvie to Society, while her son Bernard, refusing ro return to Cambridge, falsely claims to be betrothed to Helena. Helena is too embarrassed to tell Etienne the truth, and he is furious with both her and Bernard.
Set against Bath, the Leicestershire countryside, and London in the Season, They gradually resolve the mysteries and find the correct heir.
About the Author
Most writers can't help themselves! It's a compulsion. Getting published, though, is something really special, and having been so fortunate myself I now try to help aspiring writers by handing on tips it took me years to work out. I've published over 60 titles, including four in the How To Books' Successful Writing Series, and Writing Historical Fiction for Studymates. I have judged short story competitions, been a final judge for the Harry Bowling Prize and was an adviser to the 3rd edition of Twentieth Century Romance and Historical Writers 1994. If you want to find out more about your favourite authors, consult this book. I once wrote an article on writing romantic fiction for the BBC's web page, for Valentine's day. I have given talks and workshops for the Arts Council and at most of the major Writing Conferences, and helped establish the Romantic Novelists' Association's annual conference. I was Chairman of the RNA 1991-3, ran their New Writers' Scheme and edited their newsletter. I am now a Vice-President. As well as writing I have edited books for Transita, featuring women 'of a certain age', and for Choc Lit where gorgeous heros are the norm. I was asked to write A Century of Achievement, a 290 page history of my old school, Queen Mary's High School, Walsall, and commissioned to write a book on Castles and Corvedale to accompany a new circular walk in the area. Most of my Regencies written under the pseudonym Sally James are now published in ebook format as well as many others of my out of print novels which my husband is putting into ebook format. Our daughter Debbie is helping with designing the covers. For details of all my books and my many pseudonyms see my website.