An Untitled Lady

Nicky Pentilla. Musa/Aurora Historical Romance (www.musapublishing.com), $5.99 e-book (318p) ISBN 978-1-61937-596-3
Pentilla (A Note of Scandal) struggles to combine an account of a marriage of convenience between businessman Nash Quinn and mysterious Madeline Wetherby with a comprehensive exploration of industrial worker dissension in 1819 Manchester, England. Madeline’s humble origins are set against Nash’s higher birth, as is her tragic childhood of being molested by her uncle, before she also discovers family connections who would fear the law that magistrate Nash upholds. Her personal suffering is intense, but it can’t match the emotions engendered by a whole society in discord, or the horrors of the Peterloo Massacre, in which impoverished demonstrators were killed and injured by armed cavalry. Pentilla shows a deft hand with complex, believable characterizations that accurately reflect the historical period. Amid this realism, the caricatured villain feels out of place. Readers interested in early industrial England will find much to admire in Pentilla’s evenhanded examination, but the romance can’t equal the gravity of real-life economic desperation and violent clashes. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
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