AMAZON REGENCY BESTSELLER
Freedom. That’s all Lady Honor Baxendale wants—for her sisters and for herself. Honor has a bold plan to become financially independent, using a skill she learned at her father’s knee. She seeks the help of a solicitor and is pleased with her choice…as long as she can resist the solicitor himself.
Lord Edward Winborne has been happy to come to the aid of his four sisters in the past. But when a neighbor’s daughter, Lady Honor Baxendale, requests his help for a dangerous scheme she has in mind, he feels it his duty to dissuade her. When that fails, he wants to protect her, and then somehow finds he wants to do more. Much more.
Highland Manor, Royal Tunbridge Wells, 1822
Lady Honor Baxendale left the cook in the kitchen, mulling over the receipts for the following week’s dishes. Her mother was lying down in her bedroom suffering from one of her megrims. Mama’s nerves had worsened of late, especially since Honor’s stepfather had developed such a bad temper.
The house seemed to be constantly in an uproar.
Honor searched for her younger sister, Faith, and found her curled up in the corner of the cerise-striped chintz sofa in the morning room, beside the canary in its gilded cage.
“You might take a walk in the sunshine, Faith. It does lift one’s spirits.”
After Honor opened the French windows, a perfumed breeze swept in to ruffle the curtains. Beyond the terrace, the azalea bushes flaunted their mass of pink and mauve blossoms. “Why not go outdoors on such a beautiful day?”
Faith gestured to the bird which chirped and hopped about. “I am talking to someone who will listen.”
Honor joined her on the sofa. “I am listening. Don’t I always?”
“Yes. But you cannot help me with this, Honor.”
“You’ve been so horribly bored shut away in the country, dearest. Have you asked Papa to take a house in London for the Season?”
“This morning. I begged him, but he was deaf to my pleas. He means to marry me off to Lord Gillingham. And I have no say in the matter.”
Honor drew in a breath. “With me still unwed, I had hoped he’d give you one Season, at least.”
“It’s business. One of us must marry a Gillingham.”
“I’ll talk to him.” Honor doubted anything she said to her stepfather would hold weight. She was aware that she wasn’t in his favor.
“It won’t help,” Faith said in a doleful tone. “His mind is made up.”
“You get on well with Lord Gillingham.” Honor tried to sound positive while appalled at the notion. She would have to think of a way to prevent it. “He’s a personable man, is he not?”
“He’s an amusing partner to sit beside at dinner, but I don’t love him.” Faith poked a restless finger through the bars of the cage, and the bird hopped along the perch to inspect it. “You are fortunate, Honor. Papa doesn’t force you to marry.”
“I am a lost cause. I would not like to see you become one.”
Faith gave a watery sigh and sniffed. “I shouldn’t like that. Just think, if tragedy hadn’t befallen you, you would be happily married now, with children of your own.”
“Yes, dearest.” Honor patted her sister’s hunched shoulder. She couldn’t shrug off the guilty feeling. She’d been glad when her stepfather failed to consider her attractive enough for his business partner’s son. But Faith should not be denied the excitement of London, with its routs, balls and soirées. Faith was so pretty. She would cause quite a stir, and would enjoy the whirlwind of a Season so much. Honor’s mind skittered away at the thought of her own Season, some years ago, which had ended in disgrace. Faith’s come-out would be far more successful. Why couldn’t her stepfather trust her to find a suitable husband? He seemed too panicked to consider things carefully.
“I shall speak to Mama. We might wrangle a Season out of Father yet.” Honor opened the birdcage and removed the water tray to refill it.
“You are wasting your time.” Faith stood and picked up her shawl. “If anyone needs me I’ll be on that walk.”
This is a delightful story, fast-moving with a number of interesting characters. It stays true to the time period without an overabundance of detail. The heroine exhibits the ability to help herself, yet can also accept her limitations. RT Book Reviews
This was a wonderful compact story which was enjoyable to read. This reader looks forward to reading the next installment in this delightful series. InD’Tale Magazine.
Lady Honor’s Debt is an enjoyable story with well written characters, a lovely romance and an excellent HEA. What’s not to love? I look forward to reading other works by Maggi Andersen. -Amazon reviewer.
“This story had romance, a bit of mystery, suspense and emotion. I highly recommend this book and I’m looking forward to the next book.” BTS BOOK REVIEWS
A lovely “Ugly Duckling Story”
It’s 1822 Kent (England) and Lady Honor Baxendale, a self-confessed ugly duckling, fails to see anything remotely attractive in her mirrored reflection. Convinced her destiny is that of spinsterhood, nonetheless she is far from immune to attractive male faces. She nonetheless masks any notion of interest in the one man who proves to be a reliable friend and trusted confidante. The truth of her reluctance to engage in a meaningful relationship lies in her past, for once bitten by the romance bug and her heart thus duly broken by a rotten cad, she is determined never to fall prey to a scoundrel again. And yet, she is bravely in pursuit of a dastardly scoundrel for reasons I cannot reveal, else I shall spoil the plot. Suffice to say, and befitting the times, a suitor of means is keening her hand and lurking in the wings, and all whilst another who admires her immensely plays a trump ace in a final attempt to bring the self-imposed ugly duckling forth from her reluctant hiding place. This is a novella fittingly true to the concept of a short read that must be a complete story, sometimes spanning weeks, months, and years, therefore novellas are much harder to pen than full-length novels because every aspect of the story requires short scene takes, concise descriptions, and for the most part, dialogue driven plots work well for the Regency genre.
If you enjoyed the Brandreth family in Taming a Gentleman Spy ~ The Spies of Mayfair, Lord Edward Winborne, gets his own romance in this story. And his sister, Lady Sibella makes an appearance again. But the story stands alone. May I introduce you to the Brandreth’s neighbors, the Baxendale sisters.
Each will tell their own story in this series.
A letter from Lady Huddlestone on TeaTime Tattler:
Dear Teatime Tattler,
I am in need of advice.
Dear me, please excuse the blots. George—my ginger tom—hates me to write letters. But I shall proceed undaunted.
I did not want my niece to visit me, I must confess. I’d grown quite content in my solitude. Honor is not my brother’s child, but his wife’s daughter from a previous marriage. One that ended in a sordid tragedy, I might add. I do believe that Baxendale has done his best for the child. Honor is headstrong indeed. And when she was sent to me in disgrace, and disrupted my quiet life, I was most reluctant. But I have grown fond of her. Honor tries to hide her disapproval in my choice of reading matter—not everyone enjoys Ann Radcliffe’s novels, of course—although I’m sure if they read The Mysteries of Udolpho, they would soon be in thrall.
Reading has been a great comfort to me, as have my beloved cats.
But I digress. Now that Honor and I have been thrown together here in the quiet countryside of Northumberland, we must make the best of it, even though I can see she is here under sufferance. She has angered her father severely, and I suspect, although I do not know the whole of it, that it is due to her stubbornness. She wishes for far too much independence for her own good.
She is a good child, though I find, for all that. And remarkably attractive with her dark hair and eyes. So unlike her four, blue-eyed blonde sisters, Faith, Honor, Charity and Mercy. More serious and a little sad I think, and makes me wish I could brighten her stay here with some society. I have been too long out of it. But that is another story entirely, and not prudent, perhaps, to mention here.
Honor is obliging, and has a certain charm. She willingly accompanies me to the Carlisle Lending Library, and selects a book for herself, which she does not read. She merely stares at the page deep in thought, and then wanders off into the gardens, and down the lane. She can be gone for hours, although it is beautiful here in spring I must say, with the rhododendrons, camellias and roses in bloom. But she sighs rather too often. I believe she is in love. Might Baxendale disapprove of the match? I daresay I shall learn the whole of it. I suspect she will not be here overlong. I am tempted to write to my brother for the whole, and perhaps try to right the situation, but should I leave it for now and see? Things have a way of working out, do they not? They certainly do in books.
Christabel, Lady Huddlestone
Mr S. Clemens begs the author’s indulgence, but wishes to remind readers that Aunt Augusta is happy to answer such queries. He has drawn this esteemed lady’s attention to Lady Huddlestone’s question, and recommends that the character continues to read the Teatime Tattler for Aunt Augusta’s answer.