Book: Wildford’s Daughter

Title: Wildford’s Daughter
Author: Alexandra Manners
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 257 pgs

Summary: Emma Wildford, seeing how her society-addled mother ruined her parents’ marriage, decided to live with her practical-thinking father when her family split apart. But now that Emma is interested in marriage, she finds her father jealous of the idea. Both the sensible Captain Ringan and the opportunistic Mr Critchley show interest in Emma, confusing her, and so she turns to her friend Mrs Fry. With Mrs Fry’s help, Emma looks past the immediate pleasures the Regency period to visit the miserable female inmates of Newgate Prison, showing her just how lucky she is, and who she really has feelings for.

Excerpts:
pg 92 – Her eyes, accustomed to the gloom, saw the white scar. He spoke so well that he must once have been a gentleman. What was he now?
“I’m a ruffian, as you well know,” Ringan said. “You are so delightfully open, Miss Emma. Your eyes mirror your thoughts.”
“Father says I’m too much so for my own good.”

pg 137 – Emma let herself into the house and fastened the bolt. He had not moved. She leaned against the glossy panel and listened. There was still no sound of footsteps on the gravel. Something touched the door as though he had slid a hand or arm across it. Her pulse quickened. She wished he would go away. It was altogether too disturbing to know that he lingered. But it was Emma who went first.

Why should you read this book?
I actually found this book in my library while looking for Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Marquez’s book was out, for the curious, so I picked up this one). I’ve never read a book by Manners before, but I really enjoyed this. Some characters are flat, but the majority are flush, amusing, and heartening to read. The romance(s) are all interesting, and have a wonderful quality of reality. Manners does little to hide the underside of the Regency, which I love, because it’s different from the typical comedy of manners (no pun intended) we usually see in Regency Romance. A lot of themes are tackled in this book: paternal piety, loyalty, love, murder, prisons, etc; altogether, they make an entertaining and thoughtful read that made me feel better for reading it, which is rare these days.

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