Published: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical romance
Source: Own book.
Governess Abigail Chantry will do anything to save her sister and two dearest friends from destitution, even if it means breaking into an empty mansion in the hope of finding something to sell. Instead of treasures, though, she finds the owner, Lady Beatrice Davenham, bedridden and neglected. Appalled, Abby rousts Lady Beatrice's predatory servants and—with Lady Beatrice's eager cooperation—the four young ladies become her “nieces,” neatly eliminating the threat of disaster for all concerned!
It's the perfect situation, until Lady Beatrice’s dashing and arrogant nephew, Max, Lord Davenham, returns from the Orient—and discovers an impostor running his household… A romantic entanglement was never the plan for these stubborn, passionate opponents—but falling in love may be as inevitable as the falling of autumn leaves...
I very much enjoyed this historical romance, I have seen some good reviews around for The Winter Bride, and as someone who generally likes to read in order, I bought The Autumn Bride to begin with. I only read historical romance now and then, so I like them to count when I do! This one certainly did and I will move on to The Winter Bride later in the year.
Abigail or Abby as she is known at the beginning of the book is a governess to a family in London. However when she finds out that her sister has been kidnapped and taken to a brothel she sets out with the help of Daisy the maid, to rescue her. They accomplish this and find that now they are four - Abby, her sister Jane, Damaris and Daisy. Realising they will be followed and retaken the girls set out to be self reliant and free. However with hardly any money Abby has to act resourcefully and she does. She is feisty, agile and caring.
Jane and Abby were orphaned at a young age, although they do come from a genteel family. Damaris has a unknown as yet background and Daisy has a delightful cockney background. Upon finding Lady Beatrice in a terrible state, they set out to help her and return her to health. They have some very loyal support from a couple of local neighbours, who just happen to be a great butler and footman. Lady Beatrice is a wonderful character, anyone less indomitable would have been dead. She has been treated terribly by her servants. If I thought this was a little improbable at first, I only heard last night of a woman in our country who received four years in prison for the ill treatment of her mother, and the description of the condition her mother was in, was far worse than Lady Beatrice.
I didn't like Max at first, he seemed a little dense and arrogant. His behaviour on entry to the household meant it took me awhile to warm up to him. However that said he was hard working, responsible and fair. He certainly meets his match in the outspoken Abby and the wiles of the whole household. I did warm up to him, he improved upon acquaintance!
Above all in this book it was the characters themselves that endeared themselves to my heart, the plot moved along at a very good pace, there was well placed humour, and it is well written. What more could I ask for!
I especially liked the Jane Austen quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They intrigued me and I think at some point in time I would like to reread a couple of her books. I am sure with the passing of time and life experience that I will appreciate them far more.