REVIEW: Lady Bountiful by Laura Matthews
Dear Ms. Matthews,
I don’t know whose idea it was to post this novella for free at Belgrave House publishing, but it’s a great one. As my blogging partner Jane posted, it will showcase your writing for new readers and reward faithful fans at the same time.
Drucilla Carruthers might be young but she’s been in charge of her family’s estate for years ever since her father finally lost his grasp on reality. His deep grief over her mother’s death colored Drucilla’s childhood and she’s grown up more quickly than most young Regency girls. Her commitment to her father’s tenants has lead her to conceal his condition and try her best to rectify the dreadful condition the estate sunk to after a previous steward lined his own pockets instead of working to better it. But the extensive outlay of capital has finally brought the situation to the attention of her father’s heir and her cousin, Julian Winslow, Lord Meacham. Now he’s arriving at any minute and Drucilla can only hope he’s not the same stuffy prig he was when she last met him 16 years ago. But then she was only 5 and he was 12 and already come into his title. Oh well, too late to worry about it now. She’ll just have to manage as she always has.
The story is only 65 pages on my IPAQ and thankfully didn’t make me want to hurl it against the wall. Rather it is a delightful story, well grounded in the Regency era without turning into a textbook of facts and cant. Drucilla shows her maturity and yet Julian can easily see the carefree young woman underneath. A young woman he increasingly wants to know better. You show him to be a man of his times who feels it’s his responsibility to take on the heavy burden of managing the estate not because he wants to put Drucilla in her place but because he’s been raised that this is his duty as a man. Yet he can still marvel at and appreciate her ability and skill to have done such a good job and is man enough to tell her so. The ending and their relationship is a bit rushed but is still believable given the length of the story. B for this one.