The Innocent Libertine
Abigail Aldridge, a young woman whose past is clouded by secrets, takes it upon herself to assist residents in the Soho slums of 1814 London. Reverend Derrick Ames encounters Abigail, deserted by her frightened cousin, and protectively escorts her to the Soho Square Church. A raid results in Abigail’s arrest and imprisonment at Newgate. Upon being released, she is guided by a relentless determination. In returning to the slums, Abigail is accompanied by Lillian Houghton, a countess and social activist.
The text is primarily dialogue, supplemented by social commentary explaining how an American expatriate family would be shamed into permitting Abigail’s return to the States. Back in her home country, Abigail embarks upon a new life, and she meets new family and friends who live by their faith. Both she and Lillian are greeted warmly, and their lives are heavily impacted by the caring expressed by virtual strangers. In revealing their secrets, Abigail and Lillian gain peace of mind and freedom from scandal.
This book in the Heirs of Acadia series is highly recommended, especially for women interested in social injustice.