THE LADYSHIP by Elisabeth Kidd


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As in her other cheerful Regency (My Lord Guardian, 1982), Kidd offers well-spoken lords, ladies, and mere chits, limned with gentle humor; and this time the genre's traditional plot-overkill manages to ransack two families for three happy marriages. In charge of the LadyShip posting inn on the Bath Road is handsome Elinor Bennett--who, in her genteel fashion, runs a tight Ship in the absence of twin brother Ned (distinguishing himself in the Peninsular Wars). Another worry for the orphan Elinor is the care of lovely sister Lucy, whom Elinor intends to educate upwards into Society. There are also Elinor's ambivalent feelings about frequent LadyShip visitor Marcus Allingham, a wealthy, stern chap who's about to take on the chore of becoming engaged to emotive Clarissa Dudley. (Elinor--not quite a servant, not quite an equal--can hardly respond to Marcus' ""guarded warmth."") And complicating matters are Clarissa's romantic Uncle Vernon and her young, slightly pompous brother Felix. Still, Clarissa does accept Marcus' exhausting proposal. . . while writing an urgent summons to her unnamed True Love! Back at the LadyShip, Ned returns a hero from the wars, only to take off shortly on a mysterious errand. (Yes, indeed, Ned is Clarissa's swain.) And before long Felix arrives at the LadyShip to announce that Clarissa has eloped--with everyone taking off in a snowstorm after the lovers except for Felix and Lucy (inevitable love-at-first-sight). Comfy confessions, food and drink, revelations and reconciliations at a distant inn: the trip is more than half the fun in this trio of tarradiddle romances, even if the narrative surprises can all be spotted from miles and miles away.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Walker