It's a sweet more old fashioned type of book (it was written in 1982) and is set entirely outside of London with no Season what so ever in it. Miss Dorcas Minster is traveling to her new position at a remote household in the English Lake District. Her father, a baronet, fell into drink and gambling and ended his life when his debts grew too large, leaving her to make her way in the world as a governess. There are several other interesting people with her on the Mail Coach to Cockermouth and they all get a chance to know each other better when the coach is waylaid by a snowy accident, leaving them all stranded at a small inn. By far the most interesting traveler is Sir Richard Severall, a Colonel in the Dragoons who has been invalided out of the Peninsular Army. He's immediately attracted to Dorcas but feels that he can't approach her due to the fact that she has no male family member with her and the belief that she wouldn't be interested in a man with a game leg. Their slow, quiet courtship occurs over a period of days until the snow melts and they can travel on to their destinations. There is a subplot with a highwayman they all help to catch and take to justice but the main part of the story is two lonely people learning that there just might be someone interested in them and then having the courage to try for love. The description of the country inn, the early 19th C English celebration of Christmas and finely detailed secondary characters make this a soothing, excellent read.
20 years on - still a keeper!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
It's 20 years since I first read this book and, having had the pleasure of a re-read, I am still delighted by it. A road story, a Regency Christmas tale, it's a heart-warming novel peopled by characters of great charm. Dinah Dean tells the story of a party of mail coach travellers, stranded in the remote Lake District in the days before Christmas. The weather sets in, the snow is drifting and there is the inevitable coach accident. Miss Dorcas Minster, governess, the poverty-stricken daughter of a suicide, Col Richard Severall (late of the heavy cavalry, now invalided out with a disabling leg wound) and an assortment of servants, coachmen, fellow travellers and a notorious villain make up the party stranded in the snow. The weather plays a significant role in the story as the backdrop to the difficulties the party must go through before reaching a safe haven. It encapsulates Dorcas's personal misery and the difficulties she must overcome to find happiness. As the previous reviewer said, this is a low key story, no sexual scenes but there is a very real and palpable attraction between Dorcas and Richard and you feel it strongly. Dinah Dean (Majorie May) wrote a number of Regencies, many of which were set in Russia. Obviously, she, rather like me, enjoys the challenges and wonders of winter. She writes beautifully - her prose is well crafted and she creates truly charming characters including the landlady at the inn where they shelter who is a jolly good cook. Even the cat, Maurice, takes his role in the story quite seriously! There are not many books I can honestly say I enjoyed as much after a hiatus of some 20 years. However, seek this one out - you won't be disappoined especially if you like stories set in winter with a Christmas background and a desirable military man!
If you like Diane Farr, Georgette Heyer and Sandra Heath...
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
Try this marvellous adventure of a set of coach passengers stranded by bad weather. The heroine is a governess travelling to her new post, and short of money. She must borrow her inn expenses from another passenger, a former soldier who has just left the army and who is travelling in his uniform, having nothing else to wear. [OK, that might boggle the imagination but...] Throw in some wonderful travelogue, insights into the other passengers that remind me of Heyer's THE CORINTHIAN (why? you will soon see why?) and of Dicken's THE PICKWICK PAPERS. Yes, there is a villain travelling with the party, but who is the villain. I could write more on this marvellous story, but won't for fear of spoiling it for you. Warning - there is no physical intimacy (read = bedroom scenes) in this very traditional Regency. Of all the books recommended to me by my reading group, I found this book and the works of Diane Farr the most worthwhile as a slight change from Georgette Heyer.The book rates a 4.9 in my opinion (comparing it to other Regency romances and Regency historicals that I have read recently). Fantastic story, great setting, and a thrilling adventure. Plus a romance. What else could you want?
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