While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.Bella seWhile she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.Bella settles into the household of her Aunt Hatty Menzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?...
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Bella's Betrothal Reviews
Bella’s Betrothal is set in Scotland during the reign of George IV.Bella’s name has been ruined so, in an age when unmarried young ladies were expected to have an unblemished reputation, no decent man would marry Bella. As a result her parents send her to her maternal aunt in Scotland. Fortunately, her Scottish clan do not reject her although she is gossiped about and the hero’s mother will have nothing to with her.The author, Anne Stenhouse, further develops the theme when she introduces the hero, Charles Lindsay. The gentleman has good reason to distrust women, however, he is a decent man who loves his sister and will go to any lengths to protect her. He will also do everything in his power to ensure Bella’s safety in spite of his doubts about her character.Anne Stenhouse has an excellent grasp of society in early 19th century Edinburgh. She also gives a realistic verbal picture of the city and the surrounding area.This is a novel filled with interesting, well-developed characters both good and bad – including the crude villain, who has evil designs on Bella.The tale moves forward at a brisk pace and the conclusion is satisfying. It is an excellent bedtime story that swept me into another world.
Delightfully Engaging Sweet Regency RomanceFans of Regency Romance are well advised to grab hold of Anne Stenhouse’s recent release, Bella’s Betrothal, an exciting and engrossing read, which gripped me from the first page. It contains murder, attempted kidnap and evil intent, family secrets, malicious gossip and mayhem, plus much wit and humour and engaging characters, not least the hero and heroine, whose sweet romance is at the heart of the plot.In Regency Britain reputation is everything, no more so than amongst the Ton. So when Lady Isabella Wormsley, finds herself in a situation where she is the focus of gossip and innuendo most foul she is sent in disgrace to her aunt and uncle’s house in Edinburgh. En route her room at an inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay, in a deliciously action packed and sexually charged scene. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her by a rogue called Direlton, but Bella starts to wonders if Charles may be a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart.Charles is a friend and neighbour of her Aunt Hatty Menzies and a regular visitor. Exiled by her unfeeling mama, Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will prove her own innocence. However, Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another kidnap attempt and Charles comes to her rescue and is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil machinations of Direlton and the scandal mongers?I found the characters of Bella and Charles to be believable. Not only are they were well matched as a couple, but they are also interesting characters in their own right. Although Charles is a Laird, he is no lazy aristocrat. His work as an architect, gives him an outlet for his creativity. Bella is outspoken and headstrong, yet responsible and keen to protect those around her from damaging their own reputation by associating with her. Charles, recognising how his own reputation could be harmed initially resolves to have little to do with her. However, his conviction does not last long as he is wildly attracted to her and he cannot stop thinking about her. Moreover his strong sense of fair play and honour, not to mention his friendship with the Menzies, leaves him honour bound to help ease Bella into Edinburgh society. This of course means more contact with Bella, which only feeds their mutual attraction.I liked the fact that Charles was very willing to protect Bella’s honour at all costs, not just against the gossips but also against those who wish her physical harm. There are many touching scenes between the couple as they grapple with their own feelings, whilst at the same time hiding their growing love from each other. Although a sweet romance the reader can certainly sense the passion the couple have for each other simmering below the surface in a number of heated scenes! Bella fears that Charles has only agreed to marry her to protect his business and Charles has his own insecurities to contend with, not least a meddling mama and a past in which he was betrayed by a woman. The villain Direlton and his cronies are ever present throughout the tale, adding considerable tension and danger to the plot.The supporting characters were delightfully well drawn. I particularly liked how the author portrayed many of the women in the novel, especially Bella’s aunt and Charles’ mama and how Bella’s appearance and subsequent betrothal affected their friendship. Lackie, Charles’ man, helps keep Charles’ temper in check on numerous occasions and provided additional humour. The villain Direlton was credible and well motivated in his evil intent.The author’s knowledge of the history, geography and architecture of the city of Edinburgh shines through in this novel. I found myself easily transported Regency Edinburgh and into the scenes that she painted with her words. The dialogue too was well crafted and sparkled throughout and this undoubtedly reflects the author’s experience as a playwright.I recommend this novel to lovers of historical romance, especially Regency Romance. I enjoyed this book, which was a fast paced, entertaining and often humorous read, with characters I very quickly came to care about. I would definitely read more by this author and have put her previous novel, Mariah’s Marriage, on my reading list.Reviewed by Tina WilliamsA copy of Bella’s Betrothal was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.
I like Anne Stenhouse's work. Bella's Betrothal's plot is, like Stenhouse's Mariah's Marriage, unique, clever, and interesting. The author is highly skilled at character and scene development. Her dialog and scene description are superior. Every major and minor character's dialog, action, interaction and expression is appropriate and clear. At the outset her heroine, Bella, finds herself crosswise with pre-Victorian conventions which cause her mother to banish her to Edinburgh, Scotland to live with her aunt and uncle. The story features a component of danger and suspense throughout. Overlaying the good guy bad guy suspense another storyline focuses on the heroine's angst and insecurities caused by the rumor of her compromised morality and familial abandonment. Finding her HEA is enjoyable.
This is the first historical romance I’ve read by a native Scottish author, but it won’t be the last. I found the dialogue to be absolutely marvelous because it was clear and concise, and at times witty and sarcastic. Ms. Stenhouse’s excellent descriptive style also enabled me to know exactly what was going on in the minds of the heroine and hero, even when their words appeared to be saying something else. The story was so realistic that I found myself discomfited by the courtship restrictions and social mores of those long ago times. The action and mystery contained in the story lent excitement to my reading as well. I recommend Ms. Stenhouse’s writing highly.