Summary: When her mistress receives an utterly unromantic letter from a potential suitor, servant Susanna Parkwell is asked to craft an appropriate response. Though hesitant to take part in the deception, Susanna agrees, never dreaming the scorned suitor will write back.
Theodore Blakely abhors being pressured by his family to marry, but he's intrigued by the witty refusal he receives from "Charlotte." After exchanging more letters, Ted believes he's found a soul mate in his thoughtful and understanding correspondent, and asks permission to formally court her.
Though racked with guilt over her lies, Susanna can't resist the opportunity to meet Ted in person. So she poses as Charlotte at a holiday ball, where she vows to tell him the truth. But when the clock strikes midnight, will Susanna have the courage to reveal her identity and risk losing the man she loves. (Source: Carina Press)
Comments: Do you ever make assumptions? I do and did with the summary above. I assumed that this would be a Regency era story, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Set in New York state in 1866, this story follows the life of a young brother and sister from the south following the Civil War. I'm pleased that it is a American story and includes Vassar College and the education of women.
This is a short story and therefore a quick read. Told largely through the letters that Susanna and Theodore share. It is a sweet story that's paced fairly well. The main characters, of which there are only four, are well sketched out and have their own reasons for doing what they are doing which is believable and the ending is happy. And therein lies the problem. Based on what you know of Theodore's father, there would still be a battle ahead. I won't say more, but it's like the one difficulty to overcome was just glossed over.
Would I read any of Ms. McHugh's other works - most certainly and I enjoyed this story a great deal, but I think she took the easy way out on this one.
To be released February 12th.