I really like this series of novels about the ladies of the Everton Domestic Society, young women of good families but limited resources who accept special short-term assignments to assist those who require their special skills. In A Lady’s Virtue, Miss Sylvia Dowder is hired to act as temporary hostess for Anthony Braighton, the new Earl of Grafton. Sylvia was almost married, but when her fiance unexpectedly inherited a viscountcy, he jilted her because she was no longer lofty enough for him.
Sylvia’s hurt and wariness was obvious and I felt a great deal of sympathy for her; I had rather less for Anthony whose insistence he didn’t want to get married carried on well past the point when he should have told Sylvie he’d changed his mind. She had literally no way to know that becoming his wife was ever an option that was open to her, and after she’d made it clear she wouldn’t be his mistress, Anthony should have either let her go or told her clearly he wanted to marry her.
If you’ve been reading this series, earlier characters do make an appearance but aren’t integral to the plot. You don’t have to have read the other books to enjoy this one, but I have to say I think this is the weakest in the series so far, mainly because Anthony comes across as a bit of an entitled plonker, and this despite his being American and supposedly less entitled than other English aristocrats!
I’m giving this one three stars.
A Lady's Virtue is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.