“‘There are six of you,’ said Mrs. Kennedy. ‘The six beautiful daughters of Mannerling. Did nobody fall in love with any of you? Or was the love all for the house?'”
Impeccable breeding. Fabulous wealth. Beauty. The Mannerling estate. Isabella Beverly has it all, or does she? Bred to be a beautiful adornment in her fabulous home, she fails to take her first Season. In fact, she’s even classified a bore, because despite her accomplishments, her attention is fixated on her ancestral home, and her demeanor is haughty and proud. Returned home, her whole life continues in its perfect pattern, with her family the lavish jewel of the countryside. But life is subtly different for Isabella, for she is perplexed by her fruitless season, and hurt to be the butt of jokes in London. Home should be a refuge, but something is not right.
Enter charismatic Lord Fitzpatrick, an Irish peer (therefore not quite up to scratch for the Beverlys), who makes her head spin when they meet at a lavish ball at Mannerling. He teases her, invites her to go riding and challenges her, making her forget her perfect plans with Mannerling and enjoy life. But most assuredly, there is no romance brewing. With an Irish peer, how absurd! Beverlys are meant for the best.
“Lady Beverly found her voice. ‘We are ruined,’ she wailed.”
When a sudden change of fortunes forces her family out of Mannerling due to her father’s gambling, Isabella sees that they have few friends, and their comeuppance is greeted with glee. Undaunted, she adjusts to the loss of their home, changes her lifestyle, cements her friendship with Lord Fitzpatrick’s family (who have remained by their side), and takes her sisters in hand.
But her new life is once again altered when her scheming parents decide that their fortunes can be reversed if Isabella becomes the wife of the new owner, Mr. Judd. His selfish, vulgar behavior does not daunt them, and ever the dutiful daughter of Mannerling, she promotes the relationship despite her growing fondness for Lord Fitzpatrick. And he is wounded that she prefers her status and Mannerling to their growing relationship.Can Isabella make the right choice for herself, or has all her growing maturity been for naught?
“The Banishment” is wonderful Regency, as only Ms. Beaton a.k.a Chesney can do it. Toads are wonderfully toady, snide misses are scathing, and a dashing young hero is challenging and, well… dashing! Isabella grows from a pampered bore into a resourceful young woman, and a heroine you can root for. M.C. Beaton has a perfect quill for penning Regencies, and her wit is a delight. This is the first book in the “Daughters of Mannerling Series.” More delightful stories must follow!
5 out of 5 Whatzits
If you like this, try Jane Austen’s “Pride and Predjudice,” or M.C. Beaton’s “Enlightening Delilah.”