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Phoebe's Duty
by Lesley-Anne McLeod
ISBN 978-1-60174-219-3 ....... © 2016 ....... Now available at Amazon Kindle here

Reviews

From Romance Reviews Today:

A year ago Phoebe Rackson’s father died at the Battle of Bayonne. Her father’s pension is not enough for her mother to raise their five children on, and her mother cannot apply to her husband’s grandfather who is a baron. It was her parents’ marriage that created the separation. Instead, nineteen year old Phoebe wants to open a table at the Soho Bazaar, begun to help widows and orphans. The sale of the crafts her family makes will help feed the family. While her mother is upset and worried about her daughter’s project, Phoebe is determined.

Tobias Wavendon is a twin, the spare to his brother the heir. While his grandmother left him Salt House and its surrounding land, his father uses it to threaten him with its sale if he doesn’t do what his father demands. Right now he wants Tobias to marry well. His brother is a wastrel and jokester while Tobias is serious and a true gentleman. While escorting his sisters to the Soho Bazaar, he encounters a young woman selling items behind one of the tables. He is smitten by her beauty and her voice. His sisters notice how she distracts him.

Both Phoebe and Tobias are attracted to each other, but their social positions and Tobias’s twin’s actions separate them. Must they both sacrifice true love for family? The historical elements of the time are in place, and the characters act accordingly giving a very good portrait of the times. This is a very short novel, just fifty-six pages, but for anyone who loves Regency stories, it is a great purchase.

Robin Lee

 

 
 

EXCERPT

Home, when they reached it, was a narrow house in Noel Street. When Miss Rackson opened the front door, there seemed a crowd already in the entry. Tobias recognized young Jonah, but there were two other younger children as well. They fell silent at the sight of Cecily in the arms of an unknown stranger.

The older lady who arrived behind the children could only be Mrs. Rackson. Her resemblance to her daughters was marked. She seemed to grasp the situation at a glance. "Do you bring her into the parlour, sir, if you please?" With her calm direction, Cicely was settled on the shabby settee in the shabbier parlour in only a moment.

Tobias stepped back from the sopha, and stared at the group that stared back at him. The boy, Jonah, coughed, and it seemed to galvanize Miss Rackson into performing the necessary introductions, and explaining the accident and his presence.

Mrs. Rackson heard it all with composure and thanked Tobias with unreserved sincerity. Then she said, "Jonah, Mr. Wavendon has ruined his neckcloth. I am sure you have one that he may wear to his home. Please to take him above stairs so that he may repair his costume. Flora run and put the kettle on. Enoch, find the cake tin."

Tobias was in awe of the lady's organizational talents. He supposed that with five children management would become second nature. On the way up the narrow stairs, he noted the neatly mended carpets, the faded wallpaper and the threadbare furnishings of the boys' room. Truly times were hard for the Racksons.

The neckcloth young Jonah offered him was much inferior to his own linen, but he was unconcerned by the fact and stripped off his coat to knot it about his collar.

"Thank you, sir, for your help," Jonah stammered.

Tobias frowned into the small looking glass the boy held. "You owe me no thanks, lad. My brother caused your sisters enough distress that I should be apologizing profusely to each of you, daily." He finished his knot and, with Jonah's help, shrugged back into his closely tailored superfine coat.

They returned below stairs to find tea brewed, cake plated, and the family gathered around Cecily on the settee. Tobias found himself seated between the fire and Mrs. Rackson, and supplied with teacup and cake. She appeared determined upon ascertaining his character and the details of his family connections.

As Miss Phoebe sat across the room where he could watch her, and her siblings chattered about the turn of events, he was not loath to answer the widow's questions. He apologized again for his brother's behaviour, and realized too late that the lady did not know the entire story. With a grimace, he disclosed the whole, emphasizing that the Soho Bazaar was in no way to blame and minimizing the offenses so that the lady should not be overly worried.