Nearly a Lady
By Alissa Johnson
Berkley Books, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780425241813, 330pp.
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
List Price: $8.99*
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"Johnson beautifully tells a rags-to-riches tale in this story of familial duplicity and greed. After his father dies, the Marquess of Engsly discovers that his sire had taken in a ward and was sending yearly payments to her. Is the ward still alive on the family's Scottish estate? Engsly asks his brother, Lord Gideon Haverston, lately retired from the navy, to investigate. What Gideon finds are two women living hand to mouth in the run-down horror known as Murdock House. Winnefred Blythe, the ward, and Lilly Ilestone, her companion, have been living on only five pounds a year, taking in wash and mending to add to their income, because Engsly's stepmother pockets the rest of the allotted funds each year. While Gideon arranges to have them repaid and provides a London season to find them husbands, he falls in love with the charming Winnefred. Johnson's delightful characters and honest dialogue enhance the transformation of not only the girls, but also their savior."