A book that reminded me of 19th century novels like those written by Jane Austen. Two girls are of marriageable age and live with an elderly father. Dad has a candidate in mind for his younger one but the young man rather likes the older daughter. At first we get to know them as a very serious naive girl and a jealous flirty one. It is obvious that in those days girls of a good background could only wait for a good candidate to come and ask for their hand in marriage. Gossips could destroy one's prospects altogether. So we see the two girls grow up and deal with challenges. A father who is sinking into Alzheimer's, blackmail, poverty. Some things are spelled out, some things you have to read between the lines with our own more worldly knowledge.
It was amusing to read that in those days you were
regarded old when a man was past 30. Or that when a man became a widower
he was expected to marry soon again to keep his urges at bay.
No sexscenes and things only hinted at. Somehow that enhances the story.
Can really recommend buying it. A 6 stars out of 5 when you like a complicated story that displays real feelings and that needs intellect. The Gods and Monsters must be the men in the women's lives.
As a widower, Nathanial Durham has the monumental responsibility of
finding suitable husbands for his two daughters. Flirtatious and
changeable Bethany might have nearly anyone, but she seems determined to
toss her suitors away almost the moment they arrive. Laynie, on the
other hand, far behind her sister in looks and charm, is of especial
concern to her father. And so, when Harold Vaughn returns home to
inherit, it seems the problem, at least for one of his daughters, is
solved. Only which daughter will it be?
Even his girls cannot
quite decide, and so, to cool the rivalry, the sisters are sent to an
aunt’s, where they are thrown into the path of other young and eligible
gentlemen—and a new rivalry begins.
Meanwhile, Mr. Durham, lonely
for intelligent companionship, hires a gentleman to read to him several
nights a week, but Mr. Holbrook is off limits to his coquettish girls.
With varying degrees of reluctance, they honor the agreement. At least
Beth does for herself, but if its possible Mr. Holbrook might provide a
distraction for her sister while she decides which gentleman she prefers
for herself, well...what harm can there be?
Some, it seems. When
Laynie, accident prone and determined to get herself into any fix that
comes her way, falls from a horse, it sets in motion a series of events
that expose Mr. Holbrook as a man of questionable integrity. Is it
possible Mr. Durham’s hired companion is capable of the wrongs laid at
his door? Is it possible Laynie has been mistaken in esteeming him as a
man of character?
Is it possible to know anyone truly?