Gracey Neville is a heroine so inane that the villainess here has no trouble convincing everyone she's a nut case. Warned by a gypsy, Gracey expects the worst when she is sent by her stepfather, Sir Mortimer Generation, to a lonely manor (Allyngrood) in Northumberland in 1857. There she meets the usual three suitors and is beset by menaces including drugging, drowning, shooting, and bolting horses. She invariably reacts by screaming. The author is more interested in her clothes than in her character (no wonder); a typical passage: ""I in my heavy, figured dark-blue surah, braid trimming its shawl collar, running along the V at the waistline's gathered center, and banding the full, wide skirts over crinolines (I refused to don a hoop), covered for warmth in my fur-trimmed black velvet mantelet, my hair newly washed the previous day and arranged in a braided chignon caught into a velvet-threaded crocheted snood that dangled small velvet balls and fringe, and crowning this, a blue velvet poke bonnet with satin ribbons. . . ."" Butterick patterns could inspire more pleasing escape fantasies.