HER HEART WAS DIVIDED IN THREE
Jessica Eastwood’s country sweetheart, Tom Preston, wanted her to be the free and independent spirit that her gallant officer father had raised her to be.
Jessica’s irresistibly attractive distant European cousin, Anton Von Keller, wanted to mold her into a sophisticated woman of the world.
Society’s most eligible aristocrat, the dazzling Lord Leith, wanted Jessica to be the star of the London Season, a model of feminine beauty and fashion.
But before Jessica could find out which of these women she truly was, she had to decide which one of these maddeningly desirable men she really loved…
An unexpected treasure, Red Jack’s Daughter is a wonderful foray into a (sweltering) ballroom in London, at just that point in ‘the season.’ Yes; a wrap up to the annual marriage mart.
The perhaps unfortunate choice of title does not reach out and grab readers; but rest assured it is the only dull note in the entire tale. From start to finish, beginning with the not-young lady’s point of view right to final resolution, the story is entirely unpredictable and intriguing. Main character Lord Alexander Leith is inveigled to dance with the rather easily overlooked Jessica Eastwood. It hardly seems an auspicious start.
We feel at once the one’s discomposure but also, quickly, grasp his main interest’s point of view. Jessica is indeed an amazingly self-possessed heroine and (quite unlike most of the rather well-behaved ladies of the time) she will make up her own mind and pursue her own fortune. Still, we cannot but hold out a hope for the well-meaning Alex, who just set out to do a friend a favor. It all begins with a little conspiracy; a consideration of fashion (while of course avoiding the spectacular.)
Fashion and the ordering of new dresses seems like the most obvious (and dull) event given the times, but no dressmaker ever quire ran into a challenge like Jess!
The ins-and outs of London society are visited from a very different perspective in this tale. We readers begin to suspect there may indeed be reason to hope…although there is no escaping personal history…but, no spoilers here!
If you enjoy historical romances, you must put this one right at the top of your list. The writing style is beautiful; characters deep and very light, (except for rather grumpy aunty) and Layton’s perceptive touch with humor is quite perfect.
I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a dance in the ballroom of London’s marriage mart more: clever and Most enjoyable.