From the very beginning of the story, I found myself smiling. Throughout the novella, I found myself laughing and thoroughly enjoying the author's wit.
The story takes place in New York during the Gilded Age with fabulous fashions and high society determined to remain aloft. The loss of family fortune also meant the loss of friends and potential suitors. Unfortunately for Wilhelmina, that is exactly where she found herself when her father lost his money on one bad investment.
After years of literally being the bell of the ball, she was relegated to the position of social secretary for a wealthy matron. Plus, she was required to continue to attend the balls to observe the guests to determine who was worthy of a future invitation. Regardless of her discomfort with her current lack of social standing, her family now needed the money to survive.
At Your Request Novella Synopsis
As Wilhelmina is sitting with the wallflowers on the sidelines watching the beautifully dressed, wealthy daughters dance with their potential suitors, she spots the one man she has ever truly loved. Not wanting him to see her, she sits in the floor and begs her new friends to help hide her. However, Edgar does spot her and crosses the dance floor to talk to her. Unfortunately, in her haste to get away, she finds herself, and her bustle, stuck under a chair, unable to move. The next events truly had me laughing out loud as her friends and Edgar endeavor to free her from her extremely embarrassing situation.
At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd): An Apart From the Crowd Novella After using a mouse story as a diversion, once Wilhelmina is free, Edgar whisks her outside into the snow and freezing temperatures. This is where I was thinking, "leave it to a man to make things worse!"
He quickly leads her to the warmth of the conservatory. It is there where they were found alone together a few minutes later by three woman. A scandalous situation to say the least! Thinking fast, Edgar announces to the ladies that Wilhelmina has finally agreed to marry him.
That announcement places them both in uncomfortable places since Wilhelmina had turned Edgar's marriage proposal down years before. Not to mention, they are no longer in the same social sphere for a marriage to be socially acceptable. If you want to know what happens next, I'm afraid you will have to read the novella for yourself. I refuse to give away anymore of the plot.
This novella serves as an introduction to Jen Turano's full length novel, Behind the Scenes. Needless to say, I will be starting the novel right after dinner!
I highly recommend this short story. It was humorous, easy to read and of course, romantic.
I am most excited about this novella because I have found a new author who I know I will be able to trust to deliver entertaining fiction without explicit or offensive content.
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