A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford
Miss Margaret Mayfield--beautiful and shy? More like inept. When I started to read this I was appalled as Margaret seemed to bumble from one inane set of circumstances to another. How I thought could this be the heroine?
I was definitely seeing things through Sir Justin Keighley's eyes. Having been found in a ludicrously compromised position with Margaret, confirmed bachelor and rumoured rake, Sir Justin finds himself fending off Margaret's father's declaration that they must marry and her mother's snide attempts to bring this 'coup' about.
Margaret gathering some courage from somewhere decides to solve the problem by running away. And from there the story develops in a star crossed, misunderstood sort of way as Margaret grows into herself, becomes surer and more confident, and Sir Justin fights his attractions for her. Along the way Margaret is helped by a fairy godmother archetype in the form of the local midwife, Mrs Dowling. However, as we all know, the road to a happy life and true love is not a smoothly golden pathway. For Margaret and Sir Justin it is paved with painful gravel bumps, with good intentions and failed opportunities.
When finally discovered by her father, Margaret's put on weight, gained energy and awareness, has embraced decidedly politically radical leanings and has grown towards becoming her own person. The timid, mindless Cinderella becomes more politically informed, composed and adult, in charge of her own destiny.
Jem Appleby, ten year old son of the inn owners is an absolutely delightful character and almost stole the show, with his easy acquiescence and mad keen love of sailing.
Very enjoyable all round!
A NetGalley ARC