Book Review

‘The Headstrong Ward’ by Jane Ashford

thw jaSTORY: Lady Anne Tremayne is coming to Town…

Anne was not best pleased when her godmother’s family dealt with their troublesome ward by shipping her off to school. After years of being ignored by the aristocratic young Debenham brothers, a bit of revenge may be in order. Especially that arrogant, overbearing, insufferable Charles needs a lesson, and Anne is determined to teach it to him.

And London may never be the same…

Charles, Laurence, and Edward Debenham are steeling themselves to do their duty and guide the rebellious young miss through her first London season. They are completely unprepared for the fact that the wild, gawky girl has grown into a dazzling beauty – and she’s about to turn all of their lives upside down.

REVIEW: Charles Vincent Debenham, Fifth Viscount Wrenley, age 31, is the head of his family consisting of he and his two brothers, Laurence and Edward.  Reverend Laurence Debenham, age 27, is the rector of Wrenley church, and Captain Edward Debenham, age 24, is an officer in the Horse Guards.  All three men remain unmarried, although Laurence is engaged to Lydia Branwell, daughter of Bishop Branwell.

Lady Anne Tremayne has just left school at the Millington Seminary and is traveling to her home at Wrenley.  At the young age of one-year-old, her parents were lost at sea and there were no family members left to care for her.  Her godmother, Lady Wrenley, mother of Charles, Laurence, and Edward Debanham informally adopted her and she grew up in their home with her older “brothers.”  it has been 3 years since she has seen them.  Sadly, her godmother has since passed away, but left her a substantial amount of money.  Lady Anne’s best friend from school, Miss Arabella Castleton, is traveling with her to her home nearby.

Now that Lady Anne has funds of her own, she has begun purchasing dresses for her coming-out season in London.  In addition, a cousin of the Debenham family has been called up to act as her chaperone. Her name is Mariah Postlewaite-Debanham and she is completely involved in her gardening.  Leaving her gardens at her home is a huge sacrifice for her and as such, Charles has agreed to let her have a garden at Wrenley while she is there.  However, the place she selected for the garden will shock you! On impulse, Lady Anne purchased a parrot with a very colorful vocabulary.

Lady Anne is happy to see her “brothers” once again and Edward and Laurence have agreed to squire her and, often, her friend, Arabella, to soirees.  Unfortunately, Charles appears to be more aloof than ever and he and Lady Anne tend to butt heads.  Lydia’s jealously begins to rear its ugly head when she observes Laurence being kind and gentlemanly to Arabella and her true colors come out.  She then plots to do all that she can to ruin the young woman’s reputation.

I really enjoyed this novel and the different stories of the other characters.  The way the author conveyed the different personalities of the characters was very well done.  The humor and quirkiness of Mariah and her interactions with Bishop Branwell is priceless.  The extent of the hidden evil nature of Lydia is also well demonstrated.

I enjoy this author’s novels and looking forward to reading more.  This novel was first published in 1983.

Connie for b2b


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