Frances Allard's Story
This first of a quartet of books about four teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath is the story of Frances Allard, the music and French teacher. When Frances took up her post at the school a few years before the start of the story, she was fleeing a distressing past in London. All she wants of life now is to be left in peace to do her job--something she does consummately well. But while returning to the school after a Christmas spent with her great-aunts in the country, she encounters Lucius Marshall, Viscount Sinclair, and is actually stranded with him for a couple of days when they are both overtaken by an unexpectedly harsh snowstorm. It is a traumatic encounter, but Frances declines the less than honorable offer Lord Sinclair makes her at the end of it and persuades herself that she will be quite content never to see him again.
Lucius has just promised his dying grandfather and the rest of his family that he will marry before the end of summer, and the perfect bride has already been picked out for him. For a brief interlude he is distracted by his encounter with Frances, but on the whole he considers himself fortunate when she rejects his offer. He will be--or so he tells himself--quite happy never to see her again.
Fortune, however, has other plans in store for Frances and Lucius, who are fated to meet again at a soiree in Bath. And after that neither can be sure that they will never meet again. Indeed, one of them sets out actively to make sure that they will--in London, where Lucius's potential bride awaits his offer of marriage as a certainty and Frances's past waits just as eagerly to catch up with her.
Delacorte Hardcover, ISBN 0-385-33822-8
Balogh's sprightly and sensual story of love at its Cinderella best is a delightful adventure that will keep readers entranced from page one.
Sandy Huseby, Book Page
When an author has created a series as beloved to readers as Balogh's Bedwyn saga, it is hard to believe that she can surpass the delights with the first installment in a new quartet. But Balogh has done just that with the erotic yet not lascivious tale of a prim schoolteacher and a rake.
Diana Tixier Herald, Booklist