All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Autumn Bride – Anne Gracie

on February 12, 2013

Autumn BrideThe Autumn Bride (The Chance Sisters #1)
Anne Gracie
Penguin AU
2013, 310p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Governess Abigail Chantry is stunned when she realised that her younger sister is not where she is supposed to be. Given a chance to rescue her from a terrible fate, Abigail takes it even though it costs her dearly. She loses her job and she and her sister and their two friends are forced to try and go it alone, finding lodgings, feeding themselves and trying to make a little money. When Abigail attempts to break into a neglected looking mansion, she’s hoping to find something, anything that she can sell. Instead she finds the lady of the house, bedridden and neglected. Lady Beatrice Davenham is brave and lovely despite knowing that Abigail was going to attempt to rob her and Abigail finds herself worrying about the elder lady. After her attempt to call legitimately is rebuffed, Abigail breaks back in again to see exactly why the lady’s servants are treating her so.

Together Abigail and Lady Beatrice come up with a plan – Abigail, her sister and their two friends will pose as Lady Beatrice’s nieces, come to stay. Abigail wastes no time sacking the neglectful and wasteful staff and attempting to set the house to rights. It’s a situation that benefits everyone – Abigail and the other girls have somewhere safe to live where they can begin to put their plans to become independent into action. And Lady Beatrice gets companions who will care for her and truly look after her in the best possible way. All five quickly become very fond of each other.

Lord Max Davenham has spent the last decade abroad seeking to repair the family fortune and hasn’t seen his Aunt Bea in some time. When he receives a letter that says an old friend fears that she is being taken advantage of, Max hurries home to see what is going on. He’s stunned to find four strange women in residence, one of whom seems to be in charge. Max knows without a doubt that he is his aunt’s only living relative so he’s not going to truck with any “nieces”. He’s convinced that they are the ones who have taken such shameful advantage of his aunt and he’s also shocked at the change in his aunt and how much she has deteriorated. He wastes no time telling Abigail that she’ll be out on her ear, as soon as he can manage it.

But things aren’t always what they seem and Max’s ordered life and preconceptions are going to be shattered.

The Autumn Bride is the first in the Chance Sisters series by Anne Gracie. It’s the first of her novels that I’ve read and I think that it was a very good introduction. I was immediately drawn to Abby, who is practical and sensible but also passionately devoted to her younger sister. Orphaned when Abby was 12 and Jane 6, Abby hasn’t seen Jane for some time. She believes that Jane is being well cared for and is about to take up a position as a companion when she gets news from someone that Jane has had something terrible happen to her. Abby risks everything, including her stability and employment in order to rescue Jane and together with two other girls, Daisy and Damaris, they become a new family. They declare themselves sisters and that nothing will separate them and their loyalty to each other and genuine love and friendship is really beautiful to read. Each of the girls do have their own special skill – Daisy sews wonderfully, Damaris can cook, Abby is the mother/organiser and Jane is so lovely that they are sure if they can just get enough money together to give her a season, she will help secure all their futures.

Like the relationship that develops between the four girls, the one that grows between them all and Lady Davenham is fabulous. Lady Beatrice is lonely, has been taken advantage of shamefully and basically has no will to live when Abby finds her. Together the four of them help not only extricate her from the terrible physical situation she was in, but they also help give her back her spark. In return, Lady Beatrice sees exactly what she can do for them – she’s one of the Ton and she knows the doors she can open for four lovely young ladies who don’t have the means to open them themselves.

The only thorn is Lord Max, recently hurried back from the Orient after years away and determined to throw his weight around and make up for the fact that he was absent when this happened to his aunt. He immediately suspects the girls of being the ones to take advantage but is forced to revise this when he sees them all together and watches how well they care for her – and also sees how very little they take from the finances. It is Abby that draws him specifically, first his ire but then his attraction and admiration. Even though Max is betrothed – a promise made nine years ago when he was but 18 – he can’t stop thinking about Abby and how he admires her. Likewise Abby finds herself fascinated with Max. She wants to loathe him but she can’t.

I enjoyed everything about this book – the characterisation, the friendships, the setting and the romance. It’s very simple and just fun to read. I can’t wait for the rest of the girls to get their stories too, I’d love to know more about them, particularly Damaris.

8/10

AWW2013

The Autumn Bride is book 14 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013

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3 responses to “The Autumn Bride – Anne Gracie

  1. Marg says:

    I really need to read more by Anne Gracie. I even own two signed copies of the same book but still haven’t read it!

  2. […] The Australian Romance Readers Convention is taking place in Brisbane this weekend and although I’d love to be there, commitments in Melbourne mean that unfortunately, I cannot. So instead I thought I’d bring you a Q&A with successful author Anne Gracie who will be there and is also nominated in the category of Favourite Romance Author in 2012. Anne has recently released The Autumn Bride, the first novel in a new series entitled the Chance Sisters, published by Penguin AU. You can read my review for The Autumn Bride here. […]

  3. jstgeorge1 says:

    Anne Gracie gave a brilliant keynote address on Sunday morning. As usual she had us all rolling in the aisles with laughter.

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