Lady Katherne’s Wild Ride
At the start of Westin’s lively Restoration romp, Lady Katherne Lindsay suffers the indignities common to a poor and dependent relation. One insult she will not tolerate. When her lecherous uncle invades her bedchamber one night, the servant-woman comes to Kit’s aid. Certain that the gentleman is dead, the pair flee into the night – only to fall into the clutches of Jeremy Hughes, an impoverished strolling actor. He immediately turns the fugitives over to the law, for the reward. Immediately regretting his action, the enterprising Jeremy rescues them and carries them away to London to turn them into actresses. The romance that soon develops between the rakish actor and the well-born beauty is deliberately thwarted by the wicked Earl of Rochester. But with two enemies stalking Kit, she and Jeremy are not so easily divided.
The plot contains its share of clichés – the jealous, unstable other woman and an improbable reunion – but Westin’s sure control of the action and her characters’ witty repartee more than compensate. The relationship between theatre and court, country and city, is well represented. Some readers may find the rich idiom and vocabulary of the period intrusive, but most should welcome it.