STORY: After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.
Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?
REVIEW: Miss Mei-li (May) Bradford grew up in a tropical climate. Her father is a sea captain so May has experienced life in the Far East. Sadly, her mother passed away the previous year. While on a voyage, her father has left her in the care of her overly strict and stuffy aunt, Lady Victoria Stanwix, known privately to May as The Warden. She is to experience English society life in Bath and, hopefully, meet a man she will want to marry.
Currently, it is time for the Bath Summer Music Festival and May and her two friends have enjoyed playing their musical instruments as a trio during the Festival. May plays a guzheng which is a Chinese zither. Sophie, newly married and the Countess of Evansleigh, plays the oboe. Charity is betrothed to Baron Cadgwith and plays the piano. Their musical renditions have been quite popular at the Festival.
William Spencer, the Duke of Radcliffe, age 30, is a man dedicated to doing his duties in caring for his family home, Clifton House, and participating in building the country’s first cotton mill, thus providing jobs and reasonably priced textiles for people to buy. In addition, he introduced legislation that will severely limit the amount of finely-made textile imports from the Far East. At his home, he is caring for his young half sister and half brother. When his father passed away, his second wife, Lady Radcliffe, decided she did not want to stay with her children all the time and only visits them occasionally. William tries to spend as much time with the children as possible.
Although William does not care for the music that May makes, he is intrigued by her and sees her early one morning doing her exercises outside. When William insults her physical abilities, she literally throws him over her shoulder. Not hurt, he is angered. Her aunt finds out and insists that she apologize to him. A stubborn young lady, it is very hard for her to do so but eventually she does.
William invites May and her aunt to visit Clifton House. There they become better acquainted but still continue to constantly “lock horns.” When May learns of his work to limit imports, she is infuriated because that means her father’s import business is at risk.
Her father eventually returns and May is saddened to know that he cannot afford to keep his ship and will be giving up his sailing. Heartbroken, she blames William.
Although William and May are attracted to one another, they are both very stubborn personalities. Will they find a way to learn to understand one another’s points of view and find a way to be a couple?
At first, I was really taken aback by May’s attitude and did not care for her character. I found myself thinking that I just don’t like her. But, after awhile, I realized that the author meant to create a controversial character and she did a very good job of it. I applaud Ms. Knightley’s talent.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author