by Virginia Taylor

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An aspiring dressmaker, orphaned Starling Smith is accustomed to fighting for her own survival. But when she’s offered a year’s wages to temporarily pose as a wealthy man’s bride, she suspects ulterior motives. She can’t lose the chance to open her own shop, but she won’t be any man’s lover, not even handsome, infuriating Alisdair Seymour’s…

To prevent his visiting sister from parading potential brides in front of him, Alisdair has decided to present a fake wife. He lost his heart once, and had it broken—he doesn’t intend to do it again. But stubborn, spirited Starling is more alluring than he bargained for, and Alisdair will risk everything he has to prove his love is true…

Set against the sweeping backdrop of 1866 South Australia, Starling is a novel of cherished dreams and powerful desires, and the young woman bold enough to claim them both…

74,855 Words

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616507176
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/14/2015
Series: South Landers , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 205
Sales rank: 87,126
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

From art student to stylist, to nurse and midwife, Virginia Taylor’s life has been one illogical step to the next, each step leading to the final goal of being an author. When she can tear herself away from the computer and the waiting blank page, she immerses herself in arts and crafts, gardening, or, of course, cooking. You can visit her website at

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Starling 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. The heroine's struggle to not sink into poverty but to become middle class seemed real. I enjoyed the household dynamics between the servants,the guests and main characters. The hero's blindnesss to the truth makes you want to shake him but all works out in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love the book had a good time reading the book and enjoy it every minute
Bookworm2Bookworm More than 1 year ago
Adelaide South Australia - 1866 Starling Smith was brought up in an orphanage.  As she has always had a interest in dressmaking and an eye for combining colors, she works for Alasdair Seymour, owner of Seymour’s Emporium.  When Alasdair receives some complaints on Starling for her suggestions to some customers on the colors that would best on them, he threatens to fire her.  However, as he sees her determined spirit, he offers the “job” of posing as his wife for a couple of weeks.  His sister and her husband are coming for a visit and if he is “married,” his sister won’t be pushing him to get married as she usually does.   When Starling finally agrees, she moves into his home hoping to blend in per his instructions for the allotted time period they agreed upon. When his sister and her husband arrive, they bring along a beautiful widow named Lavender.  It just so happens that Alasdair has been in love with Lavender for many years and was heartbroken when she married a wealthy older man who has since passed away.  Lavender is a very spoiled woman who wears only shades of purple which is actually not well suited to her coloring.   The irritation that the spoiled Lavender adds to everyday events makes life for Starling quite difficult.  In addition, the attraction and friction between Starling and Alasdair begins to grow. I had a difficult time trying to like Alasdair.  To me, he is simply an arrogant jerk.  Why Starling accepted some of his demands makes no sense.  I’m sure there are those readers who would truly enjoy the novel more than I did.  Starling does show herself to be a strong character and the author has written the character of Lavender quite well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. Had a hard time puttig it down. Loved the setting and the charactors. Would like to read more by this author.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Feeding into my love of historic romance, I’m always looking for the new and unusual to find books set in places  other than England or the Americas, or even set in Regency / Late Regency period.  Virginia Taylor brings a story set in the Adelaide area of South Australia in the mid-19th century in this, the first in her South Landers series, Starling.   Starling is an orphan, an aspiring seamstress with an eye for appropriate fit and a dream to open her own business where she can then afford to offer other orphans a chance at a trade.  To finance her dream, she has obtained a position in the Ladies Department in an upscale shop, Seymour’s Emporium.  Amidst the fabrics and trims, she is noted as a solid worker with a determined and very vocal sense of what works, and that doesn’t always mean she is flattering the ladies for a sale.  Noticed discouraging more costly (thus profitable) options more than once, she is fired from her position, but offered one rather unusual proposition.   Alasdair is the owner of Seymour’s Emporium and a bit of an uptight and rigid man.  With his sister’s imminent arrival, dragging along his ex-fiancé for a dash of matchmaking, Alasdair is unwilling to appear ‘in need’ in front  of the faithless and feckless Lavender.  Offering Starling the princely sum of 40 pounds to pose as his wife, in  name only, for the duration of his sister’s visit, this scandalous offer seems plausible as Starling was the laundress for a house of ill repute, and he believes her experienced.  Taylor has created these characters with skill and presented their backgrounds in such a way as to make the premise of a marriage of show plausible and possible, while giving the characters personalities that are solid and convincing. Starling is a lovely woman with a solid belief in right and wrong, her own sense of style and her determination to make something of herself. Alasdair needed to pull the very splintery fence post out of his rear, but once he started behaving like a man and not a spoilt and bossy child, it was easy to see how he and Starling were more alike in their hopes for the future than not. The secondary characters presented disparate agendas and dramas, and only helped to illustrate the good qualities of both Starling and Alasdair.  A subtle romance that grows incrementally with each interaction, both characters and setting are clearly presented and leave you wanting more.  I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Delightful, delicious, warm and witty – these are some of the words that come to mind after reading Ms Taylor’s book, Starling. There were twists and turns within a well plotted well considered story that includes a cast of characters that were all fun except for one. And, there always must be at least one villain in a love story, right? Alasdair made assumptions about Starling when he hired her to pose as his wife for two weeks and his assumptions manage to cause trouble throughout the novel – trouble for both Starling and himself. He has provided plenty of money, a cushy place to stay and almost all that a poor woman might wish to have but it may not prove to be enough. When the “love of his life” shows up to throw a wrench into his plans the game changes from what he thought it would be to something else entirely. If you like a well written historical romance with attractive characters filled with strength of will and along with a cast of supporting characters that add depth to the story then this is a book I can highly recommend. Thank you to Kensington Books for giving me this book through NetGalley to read and review.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
This book was not at all what I was expecting. Virginia wrote a book that sucks you right into it. She has a very busy story line and if not for the spoilers then there are the twists and turns. Starling was a very smart person. She was a founding and took herself out into the business world. She is  taken into Seymour's Emporium in the Ladies section. Alasdair is in trouble. His matchmaking sister is coming to visit so he hires Starling to pretend to be his just married wife. Spoiler. Then he finds his 1st love is here too. What a snobby witch she is. Lavender is open to everyone except Alasdair who is still sure she is perfect. Spoilers. There is so much going on here that you really should just read the book yourselves. This story just got better the farther I read it. Please don't pass this book over. It is a wonderful book. Enjoy reading it! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the strength of the women in this book are. An nice little story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. Enjoyed the evolving love story,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first author I read from Australia was J D Nixon and I fell in love with her and read every book by her. I have now found another Aussie that has excited me and intend to read all of hers. Enjoy. CB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An orphaned shop girl is hired to pretend to be married to her boss. Of course she falls for him, but he has a totally different opinion of who she is! Interesting twist to an old plot. Makes for an interesting read!
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
Book three in the "South Landers" series, "Charlotte", but can be read as a stand alone. Although, I recommend reading the other two in the series. A unique Historical Romance set in Australia. Can a marriage of convenience, with uninhibited passion, lies, grief, past heartbreak and secrets turn into a HEA? The characters are those you either find compassion for or think them high-handed and selfish. Well written and entertaining. An enjoyable and satisfying read! I look forward to reading more from Ms. Taylor. *Received for an honest review* Rating: 4 Heat rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters ,,,,HEA.****vrnb *****