A Proper Mistress
Rating - 3.5 enjoyable read
Theodore Winslow has always looked up to his older brother Terrance. His brother's hi-jinks and scandalous behavior has always been a fascination to Theo.
Terrance acts in this manner to irritate his bitter father, Squire Winslow. Eventually this results in his disinheritance. Since none of the Squire's lands are entailed, the squire can do with them as he pleases.
Theo doesn't want his father's lands, and hits upon a solution --- he will do something to really make his father angry and then Theo will be disinherited and the squire will have to reinstate Terrance to the family estate.
His solution??? Find and marry a strumpet!
Only problem - he doesn't know that the woman he has hired to portray a "fallen woman" isn't a harlot but a cook and a virgin, to boot.
Molly Sweet, orphaned in India and on her own since running away from the workhouse, has been the cook in a local upscale brothel. She dreams of buying an inn and making a life for herself. Urged into accepting the role, by her present employer; she finds herself in the midst of a dysfunctional family; a bitter father who refuses to see his sons as adults and sons who fail to see behind the facade the father has erected over the years.
The author's characterization of adoring younger brother maturing and seeing his brother's inadequacies was thought provoking.
Plot smooth, interesting and entertaining. I liked the internal dialog in the mind's of the hero and heroine; especially Theo's as he becomes aware of his feelings for Mollie.
That scamp Terrance will get in more trouble in "Barely Proper" (Shannon's next book), which Shannon said pretty well sums up his character.
The Regency Lover's Cafe