"I absolutely loved this utterly charming little romance! It had all the things I love in an historical romance, but slightly exaggerated in such a comedic way that I couldn't help smiling all the way through the book!
Raised in a small village along with her step-siblings by her father and step-mother, Miss Penelope Fairweather is having her first season in London sponsored by the dowager Duchess of Blackthorne, who was a dear friend of her deceased mother. Anxiously awaiting her arrival one rainy evening, the dowager and her daughter, Lady Anne Radclyff, are shocked when the butler ushers in a dripping wet Penelope with a goat in tow! It seems she didn't want her maid to be embarrassed in front of the other servants by showing up with a goat, and this is only the first of Penelope's many madcap misadventures throughout the book! Lady Anne is thrilled, of course, to have someone to relieve her boredom and she and the dowager set their minds to turning Penelope into the perfect lady so that she can snare a husband. The handsome Charles, Duke of Blackthorne, however, is appalled by and appallingly rude to Penelope - voicing his displeasure at having her in his home at every opportunity.
The dowager and Lady Anne persist undeterred, however, in their quest to make Penelope a social success, and to this end enlist the aid of the famous Madame Bellafraunde, a woman with her own secrets, who commences to not only assist with Penelope's wardrobe but with all of her sadly lacking social skills. Poor Penelope has no choice but to acquiesce, as the alternative to finding a husband in London is returning to her little village and the step-mother who can't stand the sight of her and is trying to marry her off to the most loathsome man she can find! In spite of her social ineptitude, the dowager and Lady Anne grow fonder of Penelope daily, and even the staff at the huge mansion are enchanted by her. Everyone, it seems, loves Penelope except for the Duke!
Some of the characters in the book were just hilarious. Penelope's constant social gaffes are eye-rolling, but in a good way. Then there's the elderly Sir Henry, the dowager's father who also lives in the mansion, who insists that a real man must have a good mustache and to that end, a supply of fake mustaches is kept at the ready for guests. All I can say about Madame Bellafraunde is that she needs her own book! This is a clean romance, too, which is nice, but with plenty of sparks between the protagonists! This is going to go on my "favorites" shelf for when I need a smile and a "happily ever after!"
I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. What an absolute pleasure!