Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Paradise Will, by Elizabeth Hanbury

I am always on the hunt for a new author, as most of you well know. This one just happened to come along via C19, much to my excitement. Elizabeth Hanbury is one that I will be reading for quite some time to come.

The Paradise Will is exactly that- the will of General Paradise, Uncle to Miss Alyssa Paradise, our witty heroine. Alyssa learns, with great shock, that her Uncle's estate- Hawkscote- has been left to her instead of her male cousin, the anticipated heir. Before Alyssa can take this in, she learns of the unusual clauses of her Uncle's will, the most notable the requirement to dine with Sir Giles Maxton, a neighbor, once a week- completely alone! Having been known as a man of great humor and mischief, General Paradise's will is full of strange little quirks, but none so extraordinary as the weekly dinner with Sir Giles. Alyssa and Sir Giles meet at the reading of the will, and he is just as shocked as she seems to be. They do not get off to a great start, hardly surprising with such a requirement looming over them. The terms of the will are accepted by both parties, and the fun begins.

Alyssa arrives at Hawkscote with her ward and Charles, her possible fiance, who is set against the terms of the will. Charles is a cold fish, in my opinion, and somewhat pompous and assuming. Alyssa is glad to see him leave after his strained encounter with Sir Giles. They aren't the best matched couple, and Alyssa is starting to see the light. Alyssa and Letty begin to make Hawkscote their home, with Alyssa learning about managing the estate, with Giles' help, as per the stipulations of the will. Alyssa is a mischievous person, and during a visit from Caroline Nash and her mother; Miss Nash believing she is going to marry Sir Giles, creates a story about a scandalous part of her past, solely for her own amusement. Miss Nash and her mother are social conscious ladies of the neighborhood, and their haughty attitudes towards Alyssa ruffles her feathers and induces her to put them in their place, humorously of course.

All is not well, of course- there are issues with the estate, and Alyssa herself becomes ill from tending to a sick child of one of her tenants. In the middle of all this, Sir Giles and Alyssa realize their growing feelings for each other, but are both honor bound to another before announcing their attachment to each other. Much amusement follows, as well as danger.

I am purposely leaving some of the story out, because I want you to read it for yourself! There are too many hilarious situations for me write about in a single review!

I laughed aloud several times while reading this book. The main characters are both witty and intelligent, which make for a very humorous story. Add to this Letty, Alyssa's ward and friend, Piers, the male cousin who was stilted by his uncle, and you will find yourself laughing at their antics. This was such a fun read, not only is it well written and flows beautifully, the characters are well developed and their own individual personalities shine through. Elizabeth Hanbury's writing is wonderful, a nice change from the formula romances that we see so much of. I loved this book, now go out and buy it!!

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