This was a perfect example that all is not as it appears. In fact, Sybil’s husband goes to great lengths to ensure that outsiders only see the pretty and shiny. But in fact Sybil has been suffocating and suffering her entire marriage and punished by her husband for something that she had absolutely no control over; their marriage. In her forties now, she’s reached an age when she thinks “what about me?” and when presented with an opportunity, goes for what she wants. She convinces herself she’s doing it for the good of the family but for once she’s doing something for herself. As she should. I liked Sybil more as I got to know her, but must say I had no sympathy for her in the beginning.
Sybil’s husband, the viscount, is a child who was never forced to grow up. And like a child he acts accordingly making others pay for his misjudgments and mistakes. With the British Aristocracy’s annoying habit of breeding before love harshly illuminated this made for an interesting read that had me cringing on occasion as mother and daughter both at times vied for the attentions of young Stephen. While we aren’t given a definitive happily ever after of the traditional sort, what is worked out is amazingly advanced for the time. An entertaining read.
The lovely Lady Sybil’s 20-year marriage has not produced an heir - which is hardly surprising since her husband cannot bear to be parted from his long-term mistress.
When heir-apparent, handsome cousin Stephen arrives at Grange Hall to be briefed on his duties as the next Viscount Partington, he sets many feminine hearts a-flutter, including those of Sybil’s two daughters: plain, dumpy Hetty and fiery, exquisite Araminta.
Then a unwelcome contender for the viscountancy emerges. Presumed dead, Edgar turns out not to have died on the battlefield - but nor has he distinguished himself there, either.
In order that mutton-headed Edgar never inherit what her husband has spent his lifetime creating, Lady Sybil devises an extraordinary plan...
In his wildest dreams, Cousin Stephen never expected his duties would be so diverse.