The Social Outcast
Surrey, 1820: Eloise Hamilton, the 17-year-old illegitimate daughter of a wealthy banker, knows that she can never aspire to a life of social acceptance – the town will never acknowledge her in the same way they’ll gladly open doors for her legitimate half-sister Charlotte. Charlotte is about to be presented. Not so Eloise! Her friend from childhood, the rakehell Harry Benson-Smythe, is summoned home by his father to be told in no uncertain terms his bachelor days are over. His father quick to point out there’s no point Harry looking in the direction of Eloise – she’s beyond the pale. Harry quickly becomes jealous of the attention Lord Richard Craven lavishes on Eloise. Still at least there is something Harry can do. He enlists Eloise’s help with solving the mysterious disappearances of young local girls; that these unfortunate girls have been ill-used by men is clear. The girls themselves retain no memory of their abduction. Eloise is eager to help. Adventures ensue. The mystery is eventually solved and a resolution to Harry’s dilemma reached. A charming, likeable enough tale, throwing the spotlight on the social prejudices and sometimes appalling treatment meted out to women in an earlier age.