Book Review

‘The Smile of the Stranger’ by Joan Aiken

tsots-jaSTORY: The Paget family’s adventures begin in this Gothic Regency period romance reissue from legendary author Joan Aiken

When danger forces expatriate English gentlewoman Juliana Paget to flee her home in Italy, she embarks on a journey full of thrilling adventure. Nothing could have prepared her for outwitting a French mob, crossing the Channel in a hot air balloon, or fending off the advances of the fascinating Count Welcker.

Arriving in London just in time for her very first Season, Juliana is going to find all her ideals challenged and the truth of her heart finally revealed.

REVIEW: Juliana Paget, age 18, lives with her father, an author in Florence, Italy. When she tells her father about a woman she met that day asking for him, he panics and insists that they flee the country and return to England and Flintwood Manor in Hampshire. That is where her grandfather lives. His name is General Sir Horace Fallesley Paget. Juliana had not known of her father’s family and learns that her father left because her grandfather did not approve of her mother, Laura. As her grandfather had predicted, the woman left Juliana with her father and disappeared.

As their funds are limited and it is wartime, it is a trek for them to get to the coastline to return to England. Along the way, Juliana saves a man from hanging. He calls himself a doctor. At the coast, they end up making the trip to England via a balloon piloted by the man Juliana saved. By the time they arrive in England and Flintwood Manor, her father’s health has deteriorated so badly that he drops dead.

Juliana’s grandfather is a cold man who has no time for her so he quickly sends her to stay with her aunt. She is married to a Baronet and her grandfather wants her aunt to introduce Juliana to Society. But the woman wants nothing more than to see the girl married off because Juliana’s background is an embarrassment to them.

This is when the story really takes off. Someone wants Juliana dead. Could it be her own mother? But why? That’s when Juliana runs away and is befriended by a lovely French lady.

This story is full of adventure and will keep the reader quickly turning pages.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

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