By Amanda Grange
Robert Hale - August 2002
ISBN 070907073X HB
1814, London & Manchester, England
Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.com
Rebecca Fossington is truly cast in the same mold as her grandfather, Jebediah Marsden, who had come up from poverty and was proud to own a cotton mill. Already twenty-three, she has vowed only to marry for love, but when she is compromised by the leonine Joshua Kelling, a protégé of her grandfather's, she refuses to wed him. Trouble is, they are both the inheritors of a share in her recently-deceased grandfather's mill and Joshua regards all women as being unfit for business and wishes to buy her out if she won't marry him. But as Rebecca revels in the fabulous Frost Fair and all the delights of Town, things start happening to them: accidents, and a stone through the window. Theses troubles follow them up to Manchester and their new ownership of Marsden's Mill; can it be the work of the Luddites, or something else?
There is plenty in this book to enjoy: the images of both Manchester and London, complete with Frost Fair, the rivalry between Rebecca and various other girls as they try to catch (or avoid) Joshua, and the glittering assemblies they all attend. Some Regencies are thin on this sort of (I think necessary) description, but not this one. Indeed, there is almost too much packed within these few pages and at the end of the novel I felt something I very rarely feel when I have finished a book; it should have been longer. As it is, some parts of the plot get wheeled in and out again all too rapidly but if you want a nicely crammed Regency bursting with descriptive passages, action and general bustle, then this is it. A well-above-average Regency.
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