Title: The Nature of a Lady
Author: Roseanna M. White
Series: The Secrets of the Isles, book 1
Major Themes: Mysteries, Botany
Synopsis: While running from an engagement she doesn’t want, Libby stumbles across a mystery that seems to involve her, and has to solve it before anything bad happens.
I have a policy now of snapping up all new books I see coming from Roseanna M. White’s pen. Once I have them, it might take me a few months to sit down to read them, but I’ll get there—and The Nature of a Lady was my most recent read. This one has messed with my brain a lot, and not in the way I expected it to. So many elements have a feeling of the regency era—lords and ladies, the social ranks of maids and servants and the nobility, the London Season—so many things I’m familiar with from Jane Austen’s novels—and then that’s clashing (in my head) with people talking about electricity in houses. What?! But no, it fits, and it works well, and this was a most delightful mystery to follow!
Lady Elizabeth (“Libby”) Sinclair has a problem—her brother wants to marry her off to one of his friends, but she has no interest in marrying a man for wealth, especially not one that bores her to death with details of his archeological expeditions. Her solution? Escape to the Isles of Scilly for the summer—perhaps in the intervening months, her proposed fiancè will come to his senses about her, and in the meanwhile, she’ll have a whole set of islands’ worth of new flora and fauna to catalog and study. What could be a better use of a summer than that? Well, things don’t quite go as planned. Something seems fishy when she starts receiving packages addressed to her, but not intended for her. Then other things start happening—indications that there’s something more afoot than just a case of mistaken identity. But who were the packages supposed to go to, and are she and her maid really in as much danger as it looks like they might be?
The Nature of a Lady is a great mystery story, set in a lovely place, with intriguing characters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. And meeting Mamm-wynn? Well. She’s just a sweetheart, through and through. I find I tend to love spunky older women in stories—they bring a certain spice that no other character can! The romance in here wasn’t too strong, I thought; I was afraid it might be a bigger part of the story, but the mystery was the main point in the end. If you enjoy historical books with an eye to detail and have an appreciation for all things in nature (and a dash of mystery!), this would likely be a great book for you. As someone who appreciates the world around me, the focus on botany here was very fun to read about! And of course, pirate lore is always an intriguing subject. 🙂
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: As with many of White’s other books, blasted, blighted, blamed, blazes, and drat all appear regularly throughout the story. Swear or sworn are used in ch. 2 and 3; curse is used in ch. 26 and 27; and dash is used in ch. 11, 13, and 16. “For heaven’s sake” or a variant is used in ch. 1, 4, and 22; “where the devil” is used in ch. 3 and 22; “be hanged” is used in ch. 16 and 22; and “for goodness’ sake” is used in ch. 20. Lying occurs in ch. 1, 13, 17, 21, 26, and 27. Pirates are mentioned in the prologue, and evolution is mentioned as a fact in ch. 4.
A man lifts a woman into a boat in ch. 3, and a man briefly holds a woman’s elbow in ch. 5. An unmarried couple holds hands in ch. 10, and there is more touching/holding in ch. 11 and 12, as well as a kiss in ch. 12; there’s more touching in ch. 13, touching and a kiss in ch. 16, and more kisses in ch. 19, 20, 24, and 27.
A young man is found dead after a fatal fall in ch. 6, and his death is mentioned again several times. In ch. 13, a woman is trapped by a man for a few minutes while he threatened her. Someone is hit very hard in the head in ch. 16, and someone tries to shoot people. In ch. 17, several more people are hurt. In ch. 27, several people are tied up, a man is shot, another is kicked, and someone is threatened with being shot.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults