Finding Lady Enderly
On a dark night in London’s East End, 1871, a well-dressed stranger offers rag woman Raina Britton the chance to become mistress of Rothburne Abbey—by masquerading as the Countess Enderly. When she finds herself trapped by the hold that the calculating solicitor, Victor Prendergast, has over her lost love, Sully, who is serving as second footman, Raina tries to turn the deception to some good for the Abbey, whose ruined inner rooms become a metaphor for Raina’s own fragile façade. The other characters are easily charmed and obstacles to her false identity winningly surmounted by Raina’s new poise and beauty, but the cunning Prendergast won’t let Raina go until he’s gained both her and the estate—even at the cost of Sully’s life.
While the eventual truth of the conspiracy around the missing countess is a bit thin to bear the elaborate set-up and belabored suspense, the writing is strong and the pace lively. The literary echoes of great Victorian gothics by the Brontës, Wilkie Collins, and Dickens—along with Raina’s habit of trading messages with Sully encoded in classic novels—make the book extra enjoyable for fans of 19th-century literature.