STORY: Raised in a poor yet genteel household, Rachel Woodley is working in France as a governess when she receives news that her mother has died, suddenly. Grief-stricken, she returns to the small town in England where she was raised to clear out the cottage…and finds a cutting from a London society magazine, with a photograph of her supposedly deceased father dated all of three month before. He’s an earl, respected and influential, and he is standing with another daughter-his legitimate daughter. Which makes Rachel…not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past-even her very name-is a lie.
Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel sets herself up in London under a new identity. There she insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father’s perfidy and bring his-and her half-sister’s-charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn’t as simple it appears; and she might just be falling for her sister’s fiancé…
REVIEW: The time is after the war. Rachel Woodley has been a governess for 7 years to 3 little girls, daughters of the Comtes and Countess de Brillac at the Chateau de Brillac in France. An English woman, Rachel was raised by her mother, Katherine, in England. Rachel’s mother had worked hard giving piano lessons to make enough money to support the two of them. Rachel remembers her father, Edward, when she was a small girl, however, she was told he was a botanist and had become ill and died in a foreign country. Rachel received a telegram saying her mother had contracted influenza and was quite ill. By the time Rachel reached England, her mother had passed away and had been buried.
When clearing out her mother’s tiny house, she found a recent picture of her “supposedly” dead father. After conferring with her mother’s cousin who she saw from time to time, it seems that her father is the Earl of Ardmore, married and the father of Lady Olivia Standish (just a few years younger than Rachel) and a son, and heir, nicknamed Jicksy.
While discussing this new information with her cousin, Rachel was introduced to his friend, Simon Montfort, a reporter for a gossip paper with ties to society. In a search to discover why her father had apparently abandoned her, she agrees to a scheme with Simon in which he will pass her off in society as Miss Vera Merton. She can live at his sister’s lush flat and wear her clothes. His sister is in New York with his mother.
Rachel makes the change like a larva becomes a butterfly. She is received by the young people in society who have lots of money and not much to do but party and drink. Meeting her sister, Olivia, and gaining entry to her father’s home brings her face to face with her father. Will he recognize her after all these years? When he learns who she is, what will his response be? What about her friendship with Simon? Will he write about her and her father and expose them?
This story takes us inside the lives of the very rich and the extent to which they will go to protect their family history. I enjoyed the book very much and highly recommend it.
Connie for b2b