Scandal does not define the “fallen” ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents—to operate their own brewery and alehouse . . .
When Penelope Barnes arrived at the Home with her young daughter, she discovered a knack for horticulture—and for cultivating the hops needed to produce a superlative pint. She put her scandalous affair with Harry Graham firmly in the past, along with the wrenching pain she felt when he went off to war. After all, she’d always known a farmer’s daughter had no future with an earl’s son. Now she has the pleasant memory of their passion, and she has little Harriet, for whom she would do anything—even marry a boring country vicar . . .
Harry went off to fight for the Crown unaware that his delightful interlude with his childhood friend had permanent consequences. Now he’s back in England, catapulted into the title by his brother’s untimely death. He sorely misses his former life of unfettered adventure, so when he has reason to explore Little Puddledon, he jumps at the chance. But what he finds there is something—and someone—he never knew he’d lost, and a once forbidden love whose time has come, if only he can persuade Pen he’s home to stay . . .
Sally MacKenzie’s novels are . . .
“Always a delight.” —Booklist, Starred Review
“Perfect.” —RT Book Reviews
“Naked, noble, and irresistible!” —Eloisa James
“Great fun.” —Publishers Weekly
In MacKenzie's improbable but fun Regency-era series launch, a respectable young woman's scandalous past catches up with her when her onetime lover reappears after many years. Penelope Barnes was the daughter of a tenant farmer when she fell in love with Harry Graham, a member of the aristocracy. After Harry left to fight Napoleon, Pen, pregnant, was repudiated by her strict father. Posing as a married woman, she found refuge and discovered lucrative beer-making skills in a home for women, where she has brought up her daughter, Harriet. Ten years later, Harry, now Lord Darrow, arrives in Little Puddleton on an errand just as Pen is unmasked humiliatingly as an unwed mother. Harry is supposed to propose to an eligible young lady, but he finds Pen as passionate as ever and is delighted to have a daughter. He invites Pen to be his mistress, forcing her to decide whether that is enough for her. The plot is awash in convenient coincidences, but the Cinderella elements and quirky characters keep it afloat.