One of the outstanding features of Rachel Brimble's The Arrival of Lily Curtis is her heroine. Elizabeth Caughley/Lily Curtis makes a life changing decision to claim her independence, despite the expectations of her family and the strictures of Victorian society. Rather than marry a man she does not love, she strikes out on her own and takes a position as a housemaid to the handsome Lord Andrew Westrop of Cotswold Manor. Along with her new life, she assumes a new name: Lily Curtis. From the start, Andrew believes there is more to his housemaid than meets the eye and his curiosity about her grows into interest. When his interest turns to passion, he is torn between his growing feelings for the unique woman who has turned his household upside down and the promise he has made to his father, the dying Earl, to marry well.
The attraction between Lily and Andrew is instantaneous but their love for each other develops more slowly. It is easy to see that they are kindred spirits, both resisting the expectations society has imposed, both seeking to act independently, and yet both also bound by their feelings for each other. When Andrew discovers that Lily is a lady by birth, the solution of marrying her seems simple. However, Lily remains a strong woman, determined to live independently and without compromise.
Lily and Andrew are compelling characters, yet other characters, such as Cotswold Manor's young butler Nicolas, also stayed in my mind after I'd finished their story. In The Arrival of Lily Curtis, Rachel Brimble has created a romance with the perfect balance of passion and plot twists amidst a cast of memorable characters. Best of all, she has created a heroine in Lily Curtis/Elizabeth Caughley who breaks the mold and is brave enough to fight for her independence and yet give into love when it comes her way.
At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty…so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily - on the understanding if her attempt at independence fails, she will return home and marry a man of her parents' choosing.
Viscount Westrop will ensure his legacy is passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny and feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth - Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew's lineage will undoubtedly be in peril.