- Title: The Mannequin: A Victorian Romance
- Author: S.G. Rogers
- File Size: 1128 KB
- Print Length: 219 pages
- Publisher: Idunn Court Publishing (September 3, 2015)
- Publication Date: September 3, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B013F08MP6
- FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Aubrey Whittingham lost everything when his family drowned in a ferryboat accident, including the will to live. His neighbor Rosamund tries desperately to bring him back from the brink of despair, but the beastly young duke fights her every step of the way. His feelings for her deepen, and when she departs for London, he vows to regain his health and woo her properly. Unfortunately, she disappears before he has the chance.
Rosamund is admired and praised as a mannequin for an exclusive London modiste, but her life is empty without the man to whom she gave her heart. Now, just when happiness seems within her grasp, jealous rivals conspire to ruin her dreams.
Can a beastly duke and a beautiful mannequin ever achieve a fairytale ending?
“The best physicians in London can’t find anything wrong with him physically, but his emotional state is extraordinarily precarious,” the vicar said. “He recently lost his entire family in a ferryboat accident, and he’s become dangerously withdrawn. He won’t speak, barely eats, and takes no pleasure in anything. He’s wasting away, and his grandmother is worried he’ll die. I called on him myself and found him quite unresponsive. I’m not sure he can be reached, if truth be told.”
“Why, of course I’ll visit the lad, but I’ve no experience with this sort of thing.”
“He’s actually a young man of twenty-two, and here is the sticking point; if you accept this position, you can say nothing about his condition whatsoever, to anyone. Discretion is critical, and secrecy paramount. If anyone inquires, you may tell your family and friends only that you’ve accepted a position as companion to the grandmother. Do you think you can do that?”
She gulped. “Yes.”
“Considering who you are, Miss Ashfield, I believe you’re uniquely qualified to take on this challenge.”
“I’ll try my best to justify your faith in me, Mr. Preston.”
The vicar gave her a piercing look. “I give you one piece of advice. Wounded animals are often injurious toward the people who try to rescue them.”
Her eyes widened. “Should I be concerned for my safety?”
“Only here.” He tapped the center of his chest, over his heart. “Stay true to yourself, and all will be well.”
Although she didn’t completely understand the vicar, her curiosity was aroused at the deepest level, and a fountainhead of compassion was unleashed.
“I’ll attempt to help this poor man in any way I can.” She gave Mr. Preston a crooked grin. “You knew I wouldn’t be able to resist, didn’t you?”
“I had an inkling you might be easily persuaded. At two o’clock tomorrow afternoon, report to Arbor Lodge. You’ll keep the same schedule, six days a week, excepting Sundays, of course.”
“Arbor Lodge?” Rosamund’s eyebrows lifted. “Why, that’s…” she trailed off.
“Yes, it is. Now you understand the need for secrecy. If anyone in society guesses that the Duke of Swanhaven has lost his mind, the family name will be forevermore ruined.”
The Mannequin: A Victorian Romance by S.G. Rogers is one of those books that so easily sweeps you into the story that you have a hard time leaving. I easily fell in love with the main character, Rosamund. This humble and genteel girl, orphaned and mistreated by her aunt and cousins of The Gribbles family, is very likable. You start cheering her on from the start. It has a very Cinderella feel to it as she is treated as one of the servants by her own kin.
When the Gribbles leave for a season in London, Rosamund is left to find work and left all alone. The vicar finds her a job with a Duchess, whose grandson, Aubrey is living in a lonely, miserable and silent world. His parents and younger sister were killed in a ferry accident and he was the only survivor in his family. The Duchess hires Rosamund to come and keep the Duke of Swanhaven company and try and draw him out of his "shell". The chemistry between Rosamund and Aubrey is apparent from the start. She brings him back to life and Aubrey is somewhat of a beast in his behavior. Soon they can't deny their attraction to one another.
This is only the beginning of the story as side stories of family betrayal, feuds and ultimate triumph in love keep this novel continually moving. Rosamund is such a strong character who despite the constant verbal bashing from her cousins and outright bad luck that seems to follow her, she keeps a stiff upper lip. I also loved to see the full turnaround of Aubrey when he realizes who he wants and won't let anything stop him. The side characters of Aubrey's grandmother The Duchess, Rosamund's cousin Vivian, her dear friend Joe, and the dashing Lord Henley are all such strong characters that contribute much to the novel's appeal.
This wonderful romance was a pure delight to read! With such a great story and colorful characters laced throughout, The Mannequin will become a favorite of Historical romance readers.
Meet Author S.G. Rogers:
Author S.G. Rogers, also known as Suzanne G. Rogers, lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She's owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing sweet young adult fiction are her passions. Check out her blog at http://sgrogers.wordpress.com/