Secrets of a Proper Lady
by Victoria Alexander
Lady Cordelia Bannister is presented with the news of her engagement by her father. The only way to save his shipping line is for Cordelia to marry Daniel Sinclair, the son of the owner of the line who will buy out the Earl of Marsham. Cordelia is an independent woman who has published travel books and is determined to prevent the marriage from taking place. Cordelia knows alot about researching and she uses all her contacts to learn what she can about Daniel Sinclair. When Cordelia sets out to meet Mr. Sinclair's secretary, Cordelia's companion, Sarah Palmer, gets dragged into the mess. When Sarah convinces Cordelia that forcing her to learn about Daniel from his secretary isn't the best approach, Cordelia does it on her own, pretending to be Sarah.
It gets even more complicated when Daniel pretends to be his secretary, Warren Lewis. Daniel is not used to being approached by beautiful young women who want to pump him for information. Daniel has always wanted to be his own man aside from the wealth he will inherit from his father and, toward that end, has a railroad deal in the works that will establish his own fortune.
Daniel and his father have had an adversarial relationship for years. When his father shows up in London with a new wife, Daniel is stunned. Not only does he learn about a stepmother, but Daniel learns that his father has insight into his plans which leaves him having to reassess his relationship with his father.
Victoria Alexander has another winner on her hands. Each character has secrets that they are trying to hide from others around them and the author does a good job of keeping the reader on track. The complexity of the plot kept my interest while the humor had me chuckling. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
“Only two of the original four remain unmarried - who will be the winner of the tontine?”
October 2007, 375 pages
Lady Cordelia Bannister simply cannot marry a man she has not chosen herself, no matter what her father decrees. So, pretending to be her own companion, she decides to seek out information about her intended by meeting with his secretary - a man who soon beguiles her. But Lady Cordelia doesn't know the truth - the man she can't resist is really her intended, Daniel Sinclair.
Daniel has nearly won the wager he made with three of London's most eligible bachelors. While two of his compatriots have surrendered to the shackles of marriage, he's remained free to woo any woman he chooses. Yet duty forces him to consider Lady Cordelia, so, determined to find a way to escape honor intact, he continues the masquerade he started.
Each finds the other completely irresistible, but when they uncover their mutual mistaken identities, Daniel and Cordelia must make the most important choice of all...