Happy Independence Weekend! I am using the long weekend to read. I finished Thin woman by Dorothy Cannell set in England. This is the first of a series. It had some humor but it was not as good as the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M. C. Beaton. Ellie is the main character and she is very conscious of her weight. She hires an escort for a family reunion of all things. The escort is the truculent Bentley Haskell, trained chef and writer of adult novels. The family reunion is at the home of eccentric curmudgeon Uncle Merlin's filthy old castle. Uncle Merlin dies almost immediately after the family reunion and Bentley and Ellie move into his home because the Uncle's will has given each a challenge. Ellie must lose weight and Bentley must write a blasphemy free book. They must also hunt for hidden treasure but no one knows exactly what the treasure is supposed to be. They have six months. Ellie, Bentley, their housekeeper, and gardner present a united front against Ellie's other relatives. Mysterious things happen - notes appear, a package with a portrait is left at the post office, the housekeeper is drugged, the cat almost drowns and finally the treasure is found and Ellie and Bentley are in love.
I have moved on to A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin. Violet Rose Hayes is the main character. She is a proper 20 year old young lady who just graduated from Madame Beauchamps finishing school in 1893. She gets three shocking bit of news in the first few pages of the novel. First shock, her father is engaged to marry the Widow O'Neill who has two children, Harriet and Horace who Violet nicknames, Homely and Horrid. Second shock, her father divorced her mother. Third shock, her mother was never sick as she was led to believe, her mother abandoned the family and lives in Chicago.
Violet convinces her father to send her to her grandmother in Chicago. Violet's goal is to find her mother. Her father's goal is for Violet to find a husband in Chicago and his rich Aunt Agnes in Chicago has been assigned to help with this matter.
Violet has to contend with her grandmother and grandaunts in Chicago. One formidable lady is Aunt Matt the suffragist. I am on page 99 and find that this is entertaining with quite a bit of humor as Violet learns about love and the rights of women in the late nineteenth century.