The Enticing of Miss Standish (The Cinderella Spinsters 3)
Can Sara Standish, like her two friends, make a happy marriage? Since this is a Regency romance in a series titled The Cinderella Spinsters, optimism is not misplaced. Equally predictable, however, are the challenges. More interested in helping the less fortunate than in the social distractions of the idle aristocracy, Sara persuades her family to let her assist Lady Trent when she hosts, at her estate in Derbyshire, a Parliamentary committee inspecting working conditions in factories. There she meets Cameron Fitzallen, a millowner with very progressive ideas about improving not only the efficiency of machines, but the welfare of his workers, especially the children. They feel an instant attraction, but she is a lady, he a workhouse orphan, and the class barriers in the early 19th century are rigid.
The author provides fascinating detail about factory conditions during this era, and the impact upon society of machinery and inventions like the railway. The efforts of reformists to improve conditions for workers are met with resistance from those concerned solely with profit or who view the lower classes with disdain. Against this background, the lovers’ indecision, though it slows the pace, is understandable, and Sara’s defiance of convention heroic.