Allen & Unwin
September 2015, RRP $18.99
How much I have to tell you. Oh, but how are you? I trust you have been well?
I have the misfortune to suffer constantly from my nerves and have confined myself, of late, to my chambers. However, this has not prevented me hearing the most scandalous news.
I trust you have heard of Lady Truthful Newington who has come to London for the season. She has been staying with her aunt, Lady Badgery—that notorious virago—and is quite the heiress, and handsome too if the reports are true. No doubt she will attract those young gentlemen in need of a lady of fortune to bolster their own, or lack thereof.
But dear reader, here is the most ill-kept of secrets. The Newington Emerald, which Miss Newington was to inherit on her twenty-fifth birthday, was stolen! Beneath the family’s noses in their very own house. Her father, Admiral Newington, is said to be confined to his bed by the terrible deed. It is quite the powerful family heirloom, passed down all the way back from Cnut if I’m not mistaken. In the wrong clutches, its power could be used for great ill.
All that, however, is prelude to the most shocking of news. Lady Newington has not come to London merely to be presented into society but to search for the Emerald. And what do you think? She has only glamoured herself into a man to do so. The Lady Badgery has ensorcelled a moustache for her and the lady gavottes about town dressed as a French relative. She must surely find it wearying being two people at once. What comedy of errors must occur.
I cannot tell you if Lady Newington will find the Emerald (which I have heard was stolen by a notoriously nefarious sorceress) but I can tell you that she may be in love with the dashing Major Harnett who is most obligingly aiding the search. The lady seems constantly vexed by the gentleman’s presence and the gentlemen appears to find the lady utterly disagreeable. So you see I am certain they shall be engaged before the story is out.
Certainly she must not be discovered in her manly guise lest she be utterly disgraced in society and die an old maid.
Well, there you are. That is my news of Lady Newington and her search for an emerald of great import.
There is also about town, news of a certain Mr Nix. A writer of some description I hear. I have been told (and I must not disclose the identity of my sources) that he writes most well. His latest (I beg you, do not tell my mother I read novels) is rather delightful—a magical and romantic adventure about a stolen jewel and a plucky young lady who… do you know, it reminds me somewhat of Lady Newington’s quandary. What a jolly coincidence. I shall send it you—you really ought to read it and tell me what you think.
I must end here, the post has come and I long to read my letters.
Do give my regards to all. Oh, good lord, I near forgot to tell you. Netherfield Park has been let at last.