When Lady Meriden's eldest stepson and husband die within days of each other, the estate passes to the second stepson. No one has seen him in years, yet he inherits everything, including his father's gambling debts and guardianship of his seven siblings. Jane Ash rushes to her aunt's aid. Months go by before the new baron comes, and Jane is left to cope with her ailing, self-dramatizing aunt and bewildered cousins, all of whom have problems. Lady Meriden alternately spoils and neglects them. Julian, the heir, has his own problems and wants nothing less than to play the heavy parent to his unknown siblings. When he does come, he and Jane form an unexpected alliance that might lead, by twists and turns, to romance. This title is published by Uncial Press and is distributed worldwide by Untreed Reads.
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When her Aunt Louisa is unexpectedly widowed, and left in charge of a family of young children, Jane Ash soon finds herself in West Dorset, all but running Meriden Place. As the months pass, she and her Stretton cousins begin to wonder when the new Lord Meriden will arrive. How will he behave to the stepmother who sent him away to be raised by his maternal grandparents, or the step-siblings he barely knows? Julian Stretton, in the meantime, finds his recovery from wounds received during the battle of Waterloo interrupted by the unexpected news of his elevation, following the deaths of his father and older brother. Unprepared for the duties of a managing a large estate, or the challenges of heading a large family, the new Lord Meriden must navigate some tricky waters upon his homecoming. Luckily, the capable Jane is there to assist him. But for how long...? Having exhausted all of Georgette Heyer's romantic fiction, I have been looking around lately for a worthy successor - an author of light-hearted, reasonably well-written, and intelligent regency novels. It's a pity that Sheila Simonson only wrote four books in this vein, as I enjoyed A Cousinly Connexion immensely (despite the overly pink cover!), and think her work might be just the sort of thing I've been wanting. With an engaging narrative, appealing characters, and a good grasp of the social milieu in which she is setting her story, Simonson does an excellent job here. I'm looking forward to her next, Lady Elizabeth's Comet!more