The Country House Courtship: A Regency Inspirational Romance
Seventeen-year-old Beatrice Forsythe knows exactly what she wants and just how to get it. In the early 1800s, marrying a man of high society is a surefire way for a young woman to have a large house, servants, fancy dresses and fine food. Her sister Ariana did it, so there is no reason Beatrice can’t have it all too. True, Ariana and the Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay, married for love, but Beatrice is not convinced that element is necessary if the rest of the package is in place. That is, until a certain clergyman enters the picture.
Mr. O’Brien is no stranger to the Forsythe family. Five years have passed since he was forced to abandon all hope of marrying Ariana. During that time, he served in the military and later worked as the curate (minister) for a parish in one of London’s poorest areas. The combined experiences brought maturity and wisdom to the man, now sure of his calling to be a servant of the Lord. When he receives a mandate to apply as vicar to the Mornays’ country estate, he is taken by surprise. The real surprise, however, is yet to come. Ariana’s little sister, Beatrice, has grown into a beautiful young woman, one whose presence quickens his heart. But Mr. O’Brien is not alone in noticing the young lady.
Triston Barton has been sent by the Prince Regent himself to encourage Mr. Mornay to accept the position of viscount. Content in his role as a family man, the Paragon feels no immediate need to respond. He and Ariana have chosen to forego London’s high society life to spend time with their two-month-old daughter and four-year-old son amidst the peacefulness of their country house. Ariana’s sister and mother are visiting for an extended stay when Mr. Barton rents the estate next door. Mr. Barton keeps his mission a secret, visiting the Mornays on the pretext of being nothing more than a neighbor. It is during these visits that he comes to know Beatrice, whose availability and prestigious connections would prove a great advantage to someone suffering the financial consequences of a gambling addiction. Yes, a marriage to Beatrice could be just the ticket.
As Beatrice tries to sort out her desires and ambitions, Ariana becomes gravely ill with a dangerous fever sweeping London. Beatrice, her mother and Ariana’s children are sent to live with Mr. O’Brien while Ariana and her husband are quarantined. Mr. Barton is not pleased with the advantage this gives his rival. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, he pursues the young Miss Forsythe while Mr. O’Brien masks his own love for the young woman.
THE COUNTRY HOUSE COURTSHIP is the third in Linore Rose Burkard’s romances featuring Ariana Forsythe. Each is a masterpiece that transports the reader to England’s Regency Period, complete with exquisite imagery woven seamlessly into a compelling story. Her characters come to life with unique personalities, believable dialogue (true to the period), and relatable human desires, fears and flaws. Burkard’s gift for incorporating period detail and language leaves one to wonder if the author is somehow involved in time travel. Since that is likely not the case, however, I applaud her tenacious and enthusiastic approach to research.
This is a delightful read, reminiscent of riding a raft on a lazy river, moving along at a comfortable pace and never wanting the lovely ride to end.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on January 1, 2010