Talk about Old Skool romance, this is it. I pity my mother’s generation if this is all they had to read. It is mind-numbingly boring, and I only finished it because I find it hard to stop reading once I start at book.
This is a story of young woman, Hetty Brown, born on the wrong side of the blanket, who gets a job as a lady’s maid to Clemency Jervis. She is a rich, spoiled young women who is engaged to a Englishman with a title in need of money. She is also the young maid’s half sister, and they look enough alike to be twins.
As fate would have it, they travel to England, where Lord Hazzard of Loburn is waiting to marry Clemency. The only family Clemency has is her mother and an old uncle, the rest being dead, so a lavish marriage in England appeals to her. Unfortunately, they decide to travel on the Lusitania and get torpedoed. As they are proceeding to the lifeboats, Mrs Jervis insists they load themselves with jewelry to save what they can. Somehow they get separated, and when Hetty is picked up, she is wearing a bracelet with Clemency’s initials.
Once she determines that neither Mrs. Jervis nor Clemency has survived the ordeal, she takes the identity of her half-sister and goes through with the marriage. She realizes that one meeting in New York is not enough to impress her looks or personality on Lord Hazzard. Just to show how stupid everyone is, including herself, she insists on keeping her own name and insists on everyone calling her Hetty instead of Clemency.
Her husband is called away to war shortly after the wedding, but her money comes through all right, and she proceeds to repair the ancestral estate at Loburn. She manages to keep up the masquerade in spite of the suspicions of Lord Hazzard’s penniless prior love, Julia, who is invited to stay at Loburn at the expense of Lady Loburn, Lord Hazzard’s mother. Lady Loburn is smart enough to realize what she her bread is buttered on and eventually sends the trouble-making Julia away. The rest of the book is about Hetty’s fear of being found out, and Julia’s attempts to reveal her deception.
If this is your cup of tea, you will love all 480 pages of it. Me, I just went along to find out whether she gets away with it.