An independent-spirited American struggles to fit into the stultified lifestyle of the Edwardian British aristocracy.
Stella Kendrick is surprised when her crude, uncaring, but very wealthy father, Elijah Kendrick, brings her and her great-aunt Rachel Luckett on a trip to England’s New Forest region to deliver three of the finest thoroughbred horses he’s bred at his Kentucky estate. She’s even more surprised to hear that her father is giving Viscount Lyndhurst, son of the Earl of Atherly, the three horses in exchange for his marriage to Stella. Unaccustomed to the strict rules of British society, Stella makes many missteps that attract the disapproving eye of Lady Atherly. But Lyndy’s pleasantly surprised by her beauty and knowledge of horses. Although Stella incurs her father’s wrath by her refusal to marry Lyndy, an even darker shadow is cast by the murder of the Rev. Bullmore, the vicar who was to marry them. The whole group, including Atherly’s houseguests, Mr. and Mrs. Westwoode and their daughter Elizabeth, who’s engaged to Lyndy’s friend Lord Hugh, attend the derby, where more trouble is brewing. Orson, the stallion Kendrick brought from Kentucky, is the sire of the favorite, whose victory makes Orson even more valuable. Stella faces sly looks and gossip at the derby until King Edward VII grants her an audience. Then, of course, everyone wants to meet her. When Orson is stolen, Stella and Lyndy turn sleuths in order to solve both crimes. Can they solve the crimes and resolve their differences? It won’t be easy for feisty Stella to conform, but she proves she’s as clever as she is beautiful.
Although the plot could use some pruning, McKenna’s series kickoff will warm the hearts of fans who cherish all things Edwardian.