Dear Miss Manners,
I have been following your column for some time since I made my debut into society some five years ago. As a young woman, I took your advice to become a well-mannered, polite young lady who would surely find herself a husband during her first season. However, it soon became clear to me that your teachings no longer have a place in this century. England is a modern place now with modern gentlemen. They do not expect us to be coy and polite. In fact, such behaviour only has the effect of turning one into a wallflower. I would wager that the eligible gentlemen of today value a woman who can hold a strong conversation and show intelligence instead of submissiveness. After all, how are we English ladies meant to hold our own against these American heiresses and French beauties?
Now, it is likely too late for me but there are many other young women out there following your advice, many of whom are to be consigned to spinsterhood. As an unmarried woman yourself, how are we to trust your advice?
I challenge, you Miss Manners, to prove the worth of your advice. Show myself and your readers that etiquette can win the heart of a fine prospect. Christmas is approaching and it is a time to reflect is it not? I am sure many a man is considering the worth of a wife. I highly anticipate,and look forward to, the announcement of your own engagement by the start of the New Year.
Your once loyal reader,
Publisher and Release Date: Samantha Holt, December 2015
Place and time: Victorian England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Wendy
Prim and proper Angelina Ashdown writes a successful advice column on etiquette for genteel young ladies for a London newspaper . Her pseudonym is Miss Manners – a clever play on words given the subject of her column; however she has been issued with a challenge from one still unwed, disgruntled follower – to take her own advice and see how successful she is! Angelina’s editor thinks it a great idea as the unhappy young lady – Miss Disbelieving – has already increased sales with her provocative letter so therefore Angelina has been given ten days to find a prospective husband and become engaged to him, her betrothal announcement to be printed on New Year’s Day.
Eight years earlier, life had been very different for Angelina. She was the life and soul of every party and engaged to be married to a man of her choosing, until that engagement was broken by a few unkind words spoken into the ear of her betrothed. Afterwards, Angelina had no alternative but to find a way to earn a living. Now the perpetrator of Angelina’s unhappiness and fall from grace is here, at the very same house party as she for the Christmas holidays. How will she bear it knowing how much he hates her?
When Benedict Britton, Earl of Calderton, comes face to face with the young lady he all but ruined eight years previously, he finds himself just as intrigued by the lady as he had been before. She is more beguilingly beautiful than ever, yet all signs of the happy, carefree young lady he had covertly watched back then have disappeared to be replaced by ‘Miss Manners’ – a young woman who is afraid to put a foot wrong.
How to Marry a Rake in Ten Days is a sweet, gently moving, feel-good, seasonal romance. There is very little sexual tension between the alleged rake and the afraid-to-put-a-foot-wrong, newspaper columnist, just a few kisses and smouldering looks. They take a while on the journey to their HEA, but eventually get there with a few hiccups in between. There is no real substance to the story but it is a novella and the purpose is as I said: to make us feel good, and this is achieved. A nicely written Christmas story.