LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS
More than a mystery or a romance, this debut novel-within-a-novel is a delightful combination of the two, as well as a reminder to see beyond a person’s circumstance to his heart. Witty, heartfelt and elegantly penned, the story captivates readers from the first page to the last. A vivid cast of characters — from the manor to the debtors’ prison — and a house full of secrets add a Bronte-esque flair to the overall atmosphere. Literary references abound, and the cleverly-done snippets from the fictitious (and titular) serial novel that begin each chapter enhance the plot’s layers even further.
Nathaniel Droll is known to England as one of the most popular serial authors of the day, but to Aurelie Harcourt that is merely the pen name of her beloved father. As his transcriber, she is the first to eagerly digest the words of each new installment. When her father dies unexpectedly, Aurelie loses the only family she’s ever known as well as the only home she’s ever known — debtor’s prison. Taken in by her aunt, Aurelie’s reception at the family estate is lukewarm at best, except for family friend Silas Rotherham (a handsome hero who loves to read). She decides to adopt her father’s pen name and finish his latest serial novel, but someone in the family is holding on to secrets they don’t want exposed. (REVELL, Oct., 416 pp., $14.99)