When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.
When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.
Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.
In Politano's artful tale of faith, class, and surprising tenderness in 1860s English high society, Aurelie Rosette Harcourt makes a dramatic switch from debtor's prison to the opulent Lynhurst Manor. After Aurelie's father was sent to Shepton Mallet Prison in Somerset, Lady Eudora Pochard, Aurelie's wealthy aunt, turned her back on her brother. But now that he is dead and Aurelie is homeless, Lady Pochard takes in the teenage girl, however begrudgingly. Aurelie is also privy to a secret about her father: he was a successful novelist writing under the pen name Nathaniel Droll. To extend his legacy, Aurelie decides to become Droll herself and finish Lady Jayne, the story her father started before his death. The conniving, charismatic Silas Rotherham is also a new guest at Lynhurst Manor, staying there under the guise of courting Lady Pochard's granddaughter; almost immediately, Aurelie and Rotherham are magnetically attracted to and repelled by each other. While Lynhurst Manor and the lavish lifestyle are appealing to Aurelie, the social double-dealing tries and (eventually) rejuvenates her faith. In depicting Aurelie's dogged pursuit of finishing her father's work, Politano also poignantly explores the rules (spoken and unspoken) of 19th-century English society in this excellent tale.)\n