A Courtship of Convenience
Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.
A Last Chance for Love
But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.
Sophie Appersett, the heroine of A Holiday by Gaslight, is the kind of girl I would love to have as a friend. Frank and honest, she speaks her mind and is determined to find the best in other people. Accepting that she will have no love match, she is prepared to make a marriage of convenience to a man beneath her in rank but possessing a fortune, in order to save her family from ruin. Her profligate father has spent her dowry on modern gas lighting and has further expensive plans.
Ned Sharpe may be presentable, but he fails to converse properly. His stiff, abrupt approach is at odds with Sophie’s loquacious chat, so she finally decides that, they “don’t suit.” However, his response to her termination of their potential betrothal, surprises her so she decides to give him one last chance at the Christmas party at Appersett House deep in the countryside.
Although set 50 years after the world of Jane Austen, Sophie reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, prepared to put her family first but feeling affection for a man who seems unable to communicate with her. But here we are in a mid-Victorian world looking to the future, where love matches can be achieved, and modern technology is embraced. A wonderful feel good read for the Christmas holiday.
A Holiday by Gaslight is available at Amazon UK
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