Young Miss Cynthia Clarendon may have fallen upon difficult times, but never could she forget the aristocratic heritage of her distinguished family name. Even when she became governess to a family whose wealth could not buy them a title, she refused to bow her lovely head or humble her stubborn pride. Or then could a mere gentleman's servant, no matter how handsome and charming and resourceful, make her heart beat too quickly for comfort, and her mind dance with impossible dreams? As a Clarendon, it was clearly beneath her. As a proper young lady, she refused to let it happen. But as her unsuitable suitor seemed to know all too well, the Honorable Miss Clarendon was also very much a woman.
In previous reviews I have stated my preference for dramatic stories over funny ones but I have to admit that The Honorable Miss Clarendon by new-to-me author Margaret SeBastian was one that I enjoyed.
Miss Clarendon, fallen on hard times after her father's death is forced to accept a position as a governess. When she is stranded after a carriage accident she is helped by a young man that she believes to be a lowly servant - but is instead a duke. Her prides makes her mislead him and tell him that she will be a guest of the family she will be living with. After they part without disclosing their true stations in life the duke decides to look for her but none of the neighbouring families seem to be entertaining a guest. I couldn't help but thinking it was really funny how she kept thinking about him even though she thought he was someone beneath her station. The family with whom she lives also adds to the funny aspect of the story because the mother is quite a character, apparently a light headed woman incapable of two serious thoughts together she manages to manipulate everyone to do what she wants: but of course she is a good soul and treats her new governess as a daughter (implausible but funny).
After some investigative work and some coincidences (of course) - the duke's uncle ends up being Miss Clarendon's godfather - they meet again and the duke proposes. Miss Clarendon's pride (again) doesn't let her accept him after being so deceived and they part angry with each other. Two more stubborn characters is hard to find, with their happiness within reach but too proud, in her case, and too stubborn, in his to grab it. Fortunately for her the godfather and her solicitor will hatch a plan to bring her out in society and, eventually, accept the duke's suit.
I think what made the book work for me was the witty dialogue between the main characters but also the fact that there are so many innocent misunderstandings between them and that most of the secondary characters are a bit eccentric and add to the comic aspect of this plot. It was my first book by this author and I'll be curious to read some more.