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REVIEW: Emily (aka Waiting at the Church) by Paula Allardyce

Dear Readers,

Paula Allardyce has been a favorite author of mine for years. She wrote during the 50s-70s so her style is a bit old fashioned. She also usually clearly spelled out who the villain was early in the story. Another issue is that her books are OOP and haven’t been digitized. Still, if you like books with an older “feel” and are up for the challenge of locating them, give her a shot and see what you think.

n275595Four years ago Emily Stacey was left jilted at the church by the handsome man she was to marry. All that she found waiting there was a letter telling her that the marriage wouldn’t take place. After her father died six months later, having lost all his money in bad investments, Emily left the village and took up employment in London. Now she’s the indispensable housekeeper for the ramshackle Amyas family, quietly doing her job while keeping the mystery of her past to herself.

Saul Amyas has returned from Europe after a number of years abroad and meets up with an old drinking acquaintance for whom he wrote a letter four years ago in an effort to spare the poor bride some of the shame her rogue fiance seemed not to care she would endure when he didn’t show for the wedding. Now he’s headed to his half brother’s London house before going on to his own property. But he arrives to find a mysterious woman who is obviously a lady working as a servant there and is determined to scout out her hidden past. What neither know is that the dastardly former fiance has designs on Saul’s heiress niece and will stop at nothing to see that neither Saul nor Emily stand in his way.

Can they stop him from ruining another poor girl, will Emily be able to forgive the man who is privy to the most humiliating episode of her life and what will they do about their feelings for each other?

This is another one of Allardyce’s books that I read years ago and it has held up well over the years. Allardyce presents a household of family members who sometimes don’t care all that much for each other: a father who prefers to drink himself to ruined health at his club, a silly mother who flutters and gets the vapors and two lost young adults who have to turn to their uncle for advice. You get a clear view of the upper-class London home of the mid 18th century of a family with sometimes more money than sense. And of the few options open to young unmarried women with no fortunes or families. The dialogue might get a teensy bit melodramatic at times but the hero is to die for and the heroine is a woman of strength and resourcefulness. Plus the epilogue is one of the best I’ve ever read.




ISBN: 0340044659

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. carmen webster buxton
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 08:14:57

    It sounds like my kind of historical. Maybe if enough of us go to the Amazon page and click “I’d like to read this book on Kindle” the publisher (or whoever has the rights) will get the idea that there is money to be made from digitizing this author’s backlist?

  2. Jayne
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 08:59:45

    @carmen webster buxton: Paula Allardyce was one of the many pen names Ursula Torday used during her writing career. Torday died in (I think) 1997 and I have no idea who now holds the copyright for her books. I’d love to see them reissued either in print or as ebooks but TBH I’m not holding my breath.

    I reviewed another of her books a few years ago called “Gentleman Rogue” which you might also be interested in. It’s got a Bow Street Runner in it!

    Be careful when ordering her books since many of the titles were changed from the original UK ones when they were later printed in the US.

  3. Janet W
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:09:41

    I thought I knew most of the OOP Regency author names but this one’s new to me — and it sounds great so I clicked it on to my wish list. I like that sub-trope of housekeepers in hiding with a secret.

  4. Sandra
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 12:56:55

    I’ve found a number of Allardyce’s at UBS’s, including Gentleman Rogue, which I had read many years ago and could never find again until recently. Like all prolific authors, the quality’s uneven. Some of her books are excellent and I re-read them often. Others went back to the UBS.

    I originally bought several of her books back in the mid-70’s, published by Playboy Press, of all presses…..

  5. Jayne
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 13:20:06

    @Janet W: I discovered her books over 30 years ago but she isn’t well known under this pen name. She also wrote several mysteries as Charity Blackstock.

  6. Jayne
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 13:21:45

    @Sandra: Yes some of them are definitely better than others and I’ve been able to find about 2/3 of her Allardyce ones. And I’ve got some of the Playboy Press books too! As you say, “yesh!”

  7. DS
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 10:16:11

    Nice to be reminded of this author again. I reread a few of her books about five years ago. I need to get them out again when I have a spare moment.

  8. Janet W
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 21:36:47

    I found a couple reviews of other Allardyce books …

  9. Jayne
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 06:45:49

    @Janet W: Hmmm, I tried to access this site and IE says “no go.”

    ETA – I used the wayback archive site and managed to pull the site up and found the two reviews. Thanks for posting that they were there.

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