Mr. Bishop and the Actress

Written by Janet Mullany
Review by Arleigh Johnson

Beautiful, sophisticated Sophie Marsden, the ton’s infamous Mrs. Wallace, has an ignominious fall from grace when she is abandoned by her lover and has an altercation with her father’s business partner at the theater. Hiding out in the country, she uses her acting skills to secure a place as a respectable governess.

All is well until she finds the house steward is the same gentleman who assisted the move from her previous lodging. Both Sophie and Harry Bishop quickly feel at home with the quirky Shadderlys, who treat their servants as members of the family. Neither wish to leave, but Mr. Bishop is uneasy with both his reluctance to reveal Mrs. Marsden’s true identity and his growing feelings for her. When Sophie receives an anonymous expensive gift, she steels herself to return to London, thinking it a love token from Lord Shad. A family emergency, however, allies Sophie and Mr. Bishop as they finally confront their mutual affection for one another.

This is a highly entertaining Regency novel that is both outrageously funny and endearingly unconventional. Readers looking for another Georgette Heyer may be disappointed, for it has a modern feel in regards to the characters’ personalities and their acceptance of certain lifestyles, as well as the type of humor displayed. It makes a wonderful escapist read and is a delightful break from more serious period novels.