The Mesalliance

Written by Fenella Jane Miller
Review by Fiona Lowe

St Osyth Priory, 1811: Lady Allegra Humphrey is devastated when her father, the Earl of Witherton, shoots himself.

1812: terrible news is delivered at the hands of two lawyers—a cit now owns the family’s ancient ancestral abode. Allegra and her twin brother Richard must quickly adjust to this shattering blow, or all they hold dear will be lost to them forever. Change is not at all an easy matter for Allegra, who is most proud of her ancestry and her place at the top of the social ladder. How will she cope with this threat?

When new owner, self-made and incredibly wealthy Silas Tremayne, along with his daughter Demelza, promptly arrive at the Priory, then events unfold with almost indecent speed. Silas has an extremely clever plan to win a place, for himself and his daughter, in that very haut ton which has so far effectively shunned him. What will Richard and Allegra make of this plan? Doubt, danger, romance and adventure follow.

Silas Tremayne is a thoroughly likeable hero; Allegra, once she thaws out, improves tremendously. This tale of Regency social snobbery and its attendant hypocrisy fairly rattles along and is charmingly done.