Alethea Newnham is a young woman with decided literary tastes, to the extent that she is called a Bluestocking by the gossips of Town. Educated in the country by her scholarly father and raised as an equal with her brothers, Alethea was unfamiliar with the frivolities of the haut monde. And when she was invited to stay at her fashionable aunt's house in London, she found it difficult to play the romantic games that seemed to be all the rage with her cousins.
In particular, she despises the dashing and notorious Beau Devenish, much preferring the company of writers and artists such as playwright Richard Sheridan and artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, whom she meets at the home of Elizabeth Montagu, famous leader of the Bluestocking circle.
But for all her intellectual leanings, Alethea is not immune to the romantic dreams of a young girl even though she has been warned to beware of Devenish’s wiles. So when he begins casting his eyes her way, she quite naturally ignores him although, increasingly, she starts to wonder if Beau Devenish is quite what he seems...
“A stellar read. Written in 1975, ACL's ability to capture and cultivate characters that are compelling and charming was irrisistable - again. I reread this last night and decided that my four stars were given for a good reason. I'm almost tempted to give it a five, but just can't do that for anyone other than Austin writings of the same period.”