The Last of Lady Lansdown

Written by Shirley Kennedy
Review by Audrey Braver

This Regency novel is set in Northern England and begins with the death of the Earl of Lansdown. His death was sudden and shocking, and the cause was quite unique. Since his widow, Jane, was childless, the estate will go to the next male in line, leaving Jane and her family penniless and homeless. However, there is a ten-month waiting period before settling the estate just in case the Earl had spawned an heir before he died, although Jane knows this is not possible. Her mother suggests Jane take a lover and do her best to conceive immediately. Jane rejects this idea until she meets Douglas Cartland, a notorious rake with a tragic past. Jane is now faced with a Herculean decision. Shirley Kennedy has written a refreshing, entertaining novel and has created a likeable heroine and hero the reader will miss when the book is ended.