Nothing by Chance by Renée Spencer
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Heat Level: Sensual
Length: Full (240 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Books
Review by Honeysuckle
Five years ago Squire Oscar Cavendish made a mistake that cost him everything, including his fiancé. Now he is guardian of six orphaned boys who need a roof over their heads. The problem, his ancestral dwelling has fallen into disrepair during his absence. Lady Madeline Armburst is firmly on the shelf after her broken engagement to the Squire. With mounting debts and no means of financial support, Madeline opens a school for educating young ladies on the ways of society. But unforeseen circumstances force Madeline to seek a new residence for her charges. Both Oscar and Madeline ask the local Marchioness for the use of her empty dower house. With only one home, but two worthy candidates, the lady declares a contest to determine who shall have its use. Mischief and mayhem ensue as twelve children, and one cunning Marchioness, scheme to reunite these ill-fated lovers once and for all.
Although a little muddled in places, the rather convoluted plot levels out after the first several chapters. The author has a penchant for light-hearted comedy, with traces of tragic and heart-rending moments—just enough to make a nice blending.
Our hero, Oscar Cavendish, meets with a series of mishaps that ruin his engagement, declares him a criminal and eventually saddles him with the care of six small orphans who are guaranteed to bring out the protective instinct in all of us. To his credit, Oscar has a highly-developed social conscience that won’t allow him to turn his back on the unfortunate sextet who desperately need a home and family.
Lady Madeline is a heroine of strength, determination and resourcefulness. She has managed to overcome the horror of betrayal at the hands of said Oscar and her own sister, and the deprivations of near-poverty, by opening a school of deportment for daughters of the peerage and other wealthy clients.
When their paths eventually cross again, a whole new series of mishaps occur, drawing the reader to turning pages, avid for the next encounter. I dislike giving away too much plot, therefore, I shall leave it to you, dear readers, to discover the pleasure of this read.
This reviewer can only say Renée Spencer writes with flair and grace and with time, I am sure her compelling style will continue to evolve to please the most discerning reader.