Tucked away in Oxford, England, Isabella Goodrich has led a sheltered life. An orphan, she lives with her kindly uncle, an Oxford don. Her life is quiet and comfortable, with all the sharp edges padded, except one. She’s allowed to study sword fighting for exercise.
And then an enigmatic stranger, Phineas Snowe, pays her uncle a call. He is a missionary to China, and try as she might Isabella can’t seem to impress him. And yet his tales of that far off land and the need for more laborers spark a fire within her. The sudden exposure to the world beyond her cozy social circle jars her. And she decides to join the missionary endeavor.
There’s only one problem. The offer of her services is rebuffed. Phineas is certain she is simply carried away by romanticism. He wants nothing to do with a naïve young miss who’s never had to do a lick of work in her life.
Impetuous Isabella can’t believe he really meant to tell her no. Nobody has ever told her no. She takes her maid with her down to the quay, determined that if she can to persuade him to let her join the expedition. Only the ship is weighing anchor. Isabella slips away from her escort and stows away on the ship.
What happens is a rousing tale of adventure and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and particularly liked that the story shifted from England, to life aboard ship, to China. I love an exotic setting when it’s done well. The details of Chinese life and culture were fascinating. I felt utterly transported.
This Regency offering from Jane Orcutt was just what I have been looking for. A Regency that isn’t totally consumed with balls and the haute ton. This novel truly deserved its billing as a Rollicking Regency. I thoroughly applaud it and its author. Sadly, Jane has passed away and there are no more stories coming to make this a series. But other stories in this style are coming soon. Just keep an eye out for Laurie Alice Eakes’s Lady in the Mist, coming in January. I can’t wait to get my grubby paws on this one. And after that she has several other stories coming from Revell with all the dash and intrigue of the Scarlet Pimpernel.