By Sabrina Jeffries
Simon and Schuster; $7.99
There is just something about a bad boy that just makes women go to goo! And in Sabrina Jeffries’ new series, “Hellions of Halstead Hall,” the oldest of the Sharpe siblings, Lord Oliver Stoneville, is a very bad boy, at least on the outside.
Always trying to overcome his family’s tragic past, Lord Stoneville has spent decades cultivating his rapscallion image, and his brothers and sisters have cheerfully followed in his footsteps. But the time has come for their grandmother, the formible Hetty Plumtree, to put a stop to their foolishness – that is if she ever wants to see any great-grandchildren in her lifetime. So she gives her five grandchildren an ultimatum. Each of them will stop their wicked ways and be married by years end, or will be disinherited … beginning with Oliver.
Shocked at his grandmother’s announcement, Oliver is determined to get the best of the old gal, and sets out to procure the most ill-suited woman possible to be his “fiancée.” When he discovers a beautiful American lady in a compromising situation, Oliver feels like his prayers have been answered. A fiancée who is American, opinionated, and Catholic to boot – his grandmother would faint in horror. But Oliver didn’t plan on being quite so fascinated with the beautiful orphaned heiress.
Maria Butterfield has come to London with her hapless cousin Freddy, looking for her missing fiancé. When she spies his briefcase being toted into a brothel, she chases after it, determined to find her missing beau. What she doesn’t count on is meeting the man who would soon change her life. Saving her and Freddy from a certain stint in jail, Lord Stoneville offers Maria his service in finding her fiancé in exchange for her pretending to be his “fiancée” for a few days. Lacking funds and expertise to continue her search much longer, Maria agrees to the bargain, never dreaming that she would soon find herself falling for the handsome Lord.
Scandals, misunderstandings, and unresolved nightmares from childhood would soon take front and center in Maria and Oliver’s relationship. It will take a great deal of strength, patience and faith on both their parts in order for their love to have a chance to blossom, but in time, there will be one less Hellion at Halstead Hall to worry about.
Sabrina Jeffries has once again created what promises to be an exciting new series set in Regency England. Her characters are strong, fascinating people with a zest for life and a sense of humor to go along, and Jeffries can spin a story that thrill her readers time after time. If her best-selling “School for Heiresses” series is any indication of the potential for the “Hellions of Halstead Hall,” then Jeffries most assuredly has another hit on her hands.