Mary Kingswood’s ‘Stranger at the Grove’ is a unique Regency Romance where an impoverished gentleman, Malcolm Gage finds love with a mysterious lady’s maid, Marie. In addition to Malcolm and Marie’s romance, the author keeps us hooked with the mystery surrounding Marie.
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Cupid strikes us with his arrow at the most unexpected times. More often than not, love finds us when we are not even looking for it. However, it is often said that the best love stories are the most unexpected ones.
In Mary Kingswood’s ‘Stranger at the Grove,’ Malcolm Gage had given up on romance when his own brother, Lawrence, married the love of his life, Catherine. The marriage split the once close brothers apart. Malcolm left Great Maeswood and stayed away from his birthplace for sixteen years. Conditions of his uncle’s will compel the impoverished Malcolm to return to his brother’s house. Catherine is no longer there. Yet the wedge between the brothers is still present. A gentleman by birth, Malcolm is unexpectedly drawn to his new sister-in-law’s French lady’s maid, Marie. There is something about her that entrances him. However, Marie is not who she claims she is. The lady’s maid is entrenched in mystery. Despite the class barrier, Malcolm sees beyond her faćade as a servant and recognizes her noble spirit.
What is Marie’s true identity? Is there a hence for Malcolm and his brother to mend bridges? Will Malcolm and Marie’s past catch up to them? Will they find love and happiness?
Mary Kingswood is a compelling author. Her vivid and formal writing style transports us to the Regency era and makes us feel a part of the characters’ lives. One of my favorite things about her books is historical accuracy. From the dialogues to the etiquette, everything is well-researched. The addition of a dash of mystery in her Regency romance makes her books unique. The second book in the ‘Strangers’ series, ‘Stranger at the Grove’ is no exception.
The mystery around Marie kept us on our toes till the very end. I had a lot of fun guessing her true identity. I was happy that the author continued the suspense around the vanishing housemaid, Dilys Hugh, in this book as well. She masterfully connected the two books in such a manner that both books could be read as stand-alone novels.
I liked how Kingswood addressed the concern of social status. In the Regency Era, status was very important. It was almost unheard of a servant to fall for a gentleman. Marie and Malcolm fall for each other regardless of their social standings. The author portrayed this in a realistic manner. Moreover, the romance between them is heart-fluttering. Despite being relatively new acquaintances, they wholeheartedly trusted each other. The use of French in their discourses made their interactions all the more romantic.
It is noteworthy that the author beautifully portrayed the bond between Malcolm and his brother, Lawrence. Catherine had been a bone of contention between the brothers even from beyond the grave. Her convoluted mind made her hide behind a mask even in her own personal journals. She was a complicated person who managed to have her presence felt even beyond the grave.
The flawless characterizations, intriguing plot, heart-touching romance, and professional editing makes ‘Stranger at the Grove’ a must-read for every Regency Romance fan. I believe people who love mysteries would love this book as well.
- Title: Stranger at the Grove
- Author: Mary Kingswood
- Genre: Historical British Fiction
- Publication Date: 13 March 2021
- ISBN or ASIN: B08P7RXF1Z
- Number of Pages: 410
- Minimum Audience Age: 14
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 1
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 1
- Other adult themes: 0
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 5 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
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