LADY JANE by Norma Lee Clark

LADY JANE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A broad, bosomy Regency romance--with oodles of passion but little of the drawing-room dash favored by Georgette Heyer regulars. Jane Coombes, 14-year-old upstairs maid in the Montmerency household, is having her troubles there. First, 18-year-old Lord Jasper leeringly catches Jane while she's surveying herself in the altogether. (After a brief, thrilling interval, Jane must drive him off with hand and knee.) And then Jane is bounced from her post for ripping the gown of Jasper's sister Lady Sarah. So she plods the streets, is taken in by the Montmerency butler Leach (only to be raped), and is at last rescued by kind Lady Stanier--who finds a place for Jane in Kent with Lady Payton (Lady Stanier's sister), who lives on a huge estate with deformed son Sebastian. Jane befriends poor Sebastian--who, though stunted in growth (he's been in self-imposed isolation for 20 years), has a fine mind; he in return gives her a cram course in the humanities, levitating her accent to upper-caste diction. And these odd sweethearts will wed--though Sebastian dies soon after Jane gives birth to baby Clinton, heir to the Payton fortune. So now: will Jane, whisked out of deep mourning by Lady Stanier, be recognized back up in London by Lord Jasper and Lady Sarah? Sarah doesn't catch on; she's a good-hearted ninny, and she becomes Jane's pal. But Jane is nervous about handsome Jasper, who's courting her. Moreover, that dastard Leach--now a former butler who lurks in a fashionable gambling parlor--certainly does recognize our heroine: he beats up Lady Sarah, plans to ruin Jane, kidnaps Clinton. . . all of which leads to the Big Rescue and the Happy Ending. Harmless, rags-to-riches romance in all, with minimal Regency flavor.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Walker