More than a Stranger
When her brother Richard went off to Eton in 1804, Lady Evelyn Moore (Evie to her friends) looked forward to his letters. Soon his letters were filled with accounts of his friend Hastings. Filled with jealousy, Evie wrote to Hastings and forbade him to be her brother’s friend, beginning a challenging, bantering correspondence — which Hastings ended abruptly, causing Evie much pain as she had been looking forward to meeting Hastings in person. Years later Hastings seeks out Richard, explaining that he needs a place to relax and sort his future options, so the two set off for Richard’s family estate. Hastings encounters Evie, hides his true identity, and sets off a series of romantic encounters, a shooting, a duel, and two reconciliations.
Knightley has created an interesting heroine in Evie, reminiscent of Jane Austen heroines. However, Hastings’s motivations seem weak and the plot contrived. That said, More Than a Stranger is still a charming, easy Regency read.