An Offer From a Gentleman
Avon, July, 2001.
Paperback, 384 pages.
Ordering information: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
Although it is never openly spoken of, Sophie Becket is the the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Penwood. In his will, the Earl specified that his second wife would receive a large sum of money if she would allow Sophie to live with her after his death. Sophie's stepmother, the dowager countess, despises Sophie and relegates her to the servants' quarters. Sophie's two stepsisters also treat her horribly. The night of the Bridgerton masquerade ball, the servants of the house help transform Sophie into a perfectly turned-out beauty so that she can go to the ball. At the ball, Sophie meets the handsome and charming Benedict Bridgerton, and the two are smitten. But Sophie must rush home to don her servant's garb, and when her stepmother finds out she went to the ball, she is thrown out on the street. Benedict searches for the beautiful mystery woman he fell for at the ball, but to no avail. Several years pass, and the two meet again when Benedict saves Sophie from the unwanted attentions of a drunk nobleman. Benedict finds Sophie a place as a maid in his mother's London home. But Benedict doesn't recognize Sophie as his missing mystery woman from the night of the ball, although he does find her attractive. But he certainly can't marry a servant girl, now can he?
Julia Quinn has taken the Cinderella story, given it a Regency era background and added a few of her own special twists to create a delightful tale. Sophie has kept her identity as the illegitimate daughter of an earl a dark secret, and so a marriage seems impossible given the class difference. But with a little help from a real fairy godmother -- Benedict's mother -- true love actually has a chance. Julia Quinn has a light touch with witty repartee, yet there is real heart which underlies the humor in this passionate and endearing story.
Reprinted with permission from The Internet Writing Journal®.
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