An Untitled Lady

Written by Nicky Penttila
Review by Steve Donoghue

The social turmoil in Manchester leading to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 is the unusual setting for Penttila’s quietly stunning, memorable debut novel. Former Navy man Nash Quinn, the second son of an earl, is the workaholic master of a textile mill, and his older brother, the heir to the earldom, is slated to marry the beautiful and strong-willed Madeline Weatherby, an orphan who eventually learns that the true story of her parentage links her intimately with the social forces threatening the very social fabric underlying both earldoms and textile factories.

On the face of it, Nash and Maddy are an impossible match as fictional lovers, and Penttila clearly relishes the unlikely twists and resonances of her story, which involves far more historical detail and social theorizing than readers usually find in Regency romances. And Nash himself is an exceptionally engaging hero, bristling with opinions and contradictions – an extremely interesting fictional creation, starring in a very highly recommended book.