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A House for the Season, Book 6
M. C. Beaton
Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
Love comes home to A House for the Season.When the Duke of Pelham returns to his town house at 67 Clarges Street he is grimly determined to find himself a suitable wife, and love will have nothing to do with his selection.The duke's search is soon disrupted by the arrival in town of Miss Jenny Sutherland - a beautiful but hugely spoilt country girl whose vanity is overwhelming. In fact it was her guardian who brought her to London in the hope her ward will get the put-down she so sorely deserves.
How could colourless Frederica withstand a Season's scrutiny after the five beauties before her had married so magnificently? Disguised as a chambermaid, Freddie found her way into the household of the fashionable Duke of Pembury. That wild gentleman was soon on to her tricks and found himself escorting the lady to London. Once on the marriage mart, the five sisters preened and primped the youngest until Freddie could not recognize herself!
Polly was a bewitching young girl, that pretty Polly Marsh, and she knew it. She also knew that beauty could be her passport into the castles where she had always known she belonged. So she set her sights for a duke and joined the firm of Westerman's as a stenographer. Surely one of that noble family would notice her and then all of her dreams would come true!
Miss Annabelle Armitage was pea-green with envy. What a cruel world it was when her spinster of an older sister could enchant the dashing Lord Sylvester Comfrey! Annabelle's own passionate nature was surely better suited for such a one as Sylvester. Alas for Annabelle, Comfrey seemed to care for her not a jot. Determined to get a bit of her own back, even if it meant marrying another, Annabelle found Peter, Marquess of Brabington, a most attentive admirer - who ends up having to fight for her love.
The Beast; that was what they called her. With her plump body and rough tomboy ways, she felt more like a clown. It was hopeless. Poor penniless Tilly could only sit among the chaperons as a paid companion to the spiteful Lady Aileen. The best she could do was sit; sit and dream. But suddenly Phillip, Marquess of Heppleford, the most eligible bachelor of all - decided he wanted her for himself, to be his wife, and they were married. His intent was to keep his freedom, fulfill the conditions of his father's will, and shock his aunts.
Annabelle Carruthers can only dream of being kissed by a man as dashing as Lord Darkwood. She remains locked in misery - married to a rakish drunk who gambles their lives into financial and social ruin. His sudden death - and rumours of spies and treachery - only make matters worse. Burdened with her dead husband's gambling debts, Annabelle fears that she is on her way to the poorhouse. The only solution Annabelle can see to avoid this is to offer herself up as mistress to the mysterious Lord Darkwood!
The haughty Beverley family is obsessed with regaining Mannerling, the exquisite 17th-century mansion gambled away by their now-deceased father, Sir Beverley. Three of the six Beverley daughters have failed to win back their ancestral estate - settling for love matches over mere bricks and mortar. Now it is Rachel's turn to woo the latest eligible bachelor-in-residence, handsome widower Charles Blackwood.
Matilda, Duchess of Hadshire, was a virtual prisoner of a cruel husband who romanced his mistress right under the duchess's nose. Her only joy was dreaming of the handsome Earl of Torridon - for he, like her, was trapped in a horrid marriage and longed to find true love and happiness. Though she secretly wished for the death of her unkind husband, Matilda never imagined the guilt that would plague her when the illustrious duke was befittingly murdered by his own regular lady! When Matilda turned to Torridon for comfort, she discovered a few surprises in store for both of them.
Lovely Alice Lacey was a true Incomparable, and her marriage to the Duke of Ferrant was the event of the Season. But almost none realised, however, that Alice was secretly in love with someone else - or that she had confided her feelings to a clever talking mynah bird who determined to announce these intimacies at the moment of the couple's wedding!
When young widow Lady Lovelace realised she had been swindled to near- bankruptcy by her curmudgeonly cousin, she knew she would have to marry again for money. These were the very thoughts of Lord Philip, who had nothing between him and destitution but his small army pension. And so these two attractive fortune hunters somehow found each other and, before long, popped into marriage - and into the bridal chamber - only to discover they were both virtually penniless. What a diabolical situation.
Poor Lucy was living a dream. She had married a gambler, a womaniser and a drunkard. And she refused to admit that his frequent overnight absences were of any significance. The sting came when it was revealed that Lucy's parents had bought her husband for her. And then one night at a ball, Lucy met the charismatic Duke of Habard, and suddenly anything seemed possible.
From the top of his flawlessly groomed head to the waxed tips of his fashionable shoes, Lord Andrew Childe was every inch the perfect gentleman. But Andrew's arrogant composure was almost always shattered by the impertinent Penelope Mortimer, an achingly lovely country beauty who had a clear knack for ruffling his lordship's feathers. Her nose for trouble seemed to land Lord Andrew in the most awkward situations - and love itself quickly became the most delicate of them all!
Love and jealousy abound in this playful romance, set during the British Regency. Everyone in the bon ton knew that Lord Hubert Challenge had married country mouse Mary Tyre for her dowry, but no one had yet guessed that Mary had actually fallen in love with her husband! And she was willing to try anything - sumptuous clothes, a saucy manner, even flirting with another man - to get her handsome husband's attention...until she learned that two could play at that particular game.
Penelope - golden haired, azure eyed, fresh from the country - has stolen the heart of the most-desirable Eerl of Hestleton. Rich and startlingly handsome, he is the most eligible lord in the realm. He had planned to toy with her affections and then toss her aside, but when the earl discovers that he is a pawn in her aunt's social-climbing scheme, he begins to doubt Penelope's true love. Can the belle keep her beau, or will Aunt Augusta's ambitious plans force Penelope to flee?
The Davenport sisters were alone, without even a dour-faced maid to supervise their strict puritanical devotions, until the elder, flame-haired Gillian boldly decided it was high time they let their hair down. Now, with the help of a kindly relation, the two daring misses exchange their somber attire for modish gowns and hairstyles that would surely give their parents apoplexy. But the best is yet to come: plum pudding, eggnog, carols, and a most breathtaking tree.
Lord Percy Hunterdon despaired: He had inherited a Gothic horror of an estate along with a pair of 15-year-old brats to marry off. It was no secret to him that finding husbands for these two vile young ladies would require the utmost expertise: the care of a governess of superior caliber. When Jean Morrison spied Lord Hunterdon's advertisement, dreams of an unmarried viscount and a magnificent castle danced in her head.
Lady Lucinda Esmond's swine of a father, the earl of Sotheran, was forever fleecing young bucks in London's gaming halls with impunity - until he cheats Captain Mark Chamfrey, who kidnaps 10-year-old Lucinda for ransom. But when Chamfrey has a change of heart and returns the girl, Earl Esmond nonetheless exacts his own price: Chamfrey can redeem himself and save his skin only by marrying his little victim nine years hence.
It was true. The lovely young widow Lady Charteris - Delphine to her friends - had agreed to abide by her parents' wishes and marry the comte Saint-Pierre. Delphine's parents had long since died in the Terror, but when she learned of their wishes for her, she believed it her duty to respect their wishes. Delphine would marry, but it would be a marriage in name only.
Followers of the series will notice in this volume some personality changes in the odd assortment of retainers who keep the infamous house at 67 Clarges Street, in London’s Mayfair, at the ready for whatever entrepreneur will rent it as a launching pad into the London social season. This time the renters are an unlikely couple, the Goodenoughs, apparently father and daughter; she a great beauty, he silent and mysterious. Their secrets eventually become known to the downstairs troupe, but the indomitable butler Rainberd rallies the support forces.