A Winter Chase (The Mercer’s House)

Written by Mary Kingswood
Review by Janice Ottersberg

The Fletchers are a wealthy merchant-class family in Regency Britain. Harry, the patriarch, has built his wealth as a mercer in the wool trade. The aristocratic Plummer family, now impoverished, must rent their vast mansion and move back to the original, much smaller manor. The Fletchers, attempting to move up in society, have the means to take up residence at the Plummer’s Chadwell Park, while the Plummers choke on their pride and move out.

Harry Fletcher has five daughters to marry off, but ungainly, clumsy Julia is unlikely to attract a husband and doesn’t want one. But wait… the now less-privileged James Plummer lays eyes on her and is enchanted with her witty intelligence. In a charming story centered around family, and told in drawing room and domestic scenes—refreshingly, no bedroom scenes—the historical details take precedence. The narrative and dialogue feel of the Regency era and is enlivened with words like widdershins, comestibles, addle-pated, and higgledy-piggledy. You can count on class and societal rules playing a role, obstacles to romance, and a happy ending.

Kingswood’s books are the ultimate comfort read because of their gentle warmth and stories providing escape. I look forward to The Spring Dance when Julia’s brother Will, now a gentleman, will surely find love.