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The Jewelled Snuff Box

'If you like Georgette Heyer, check Alice Chetwynd Ley out. Fun, Regency romance!'. - Sarah,

This is the first novel written by Alice Chetwynd Ley and was originally published by Robert Hale of London in 1959 and was dedicated to the memory of her late grandfather, T H Chetwynd, after whom she was named.

This novel was published by Corgi as a paperback in 1977.
It was also published by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, as a paperback in the US and Canada.

The year is 1802: the Dover to London stage battles its way through a snowstorm. In one corner of the coach sits Jane Spencer, a quiet, shabbily dressed governess on her way to a new situation in London. Since the death of her father in the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Jane has been alone and friendless, save for her father’s lawyer. But the ‘destiny that shapes our ends’ is at work on Jane’s affairs: the passengers dismount to enable the coach to climb a steep hill, and in the snow Jane comes across an unconscious man, apparently the victim of highwaymen, lying half dead in the snow, and near him a jewelled snuff box.

The man awakes not knowing who he is so Jane helps him return to London. But, just as suddenly as he appeared in her life he disappears, leaving only his snuff box in her possession. Jane and her father’s lawyer discover a letter hidden in a secret compartment in the snuff box – a letter that hints at an illicit liaison. Little does she know that this letter holds the key to a growing mystery.

Jane takes up employment as a companion for an Earl’s wife, Lady Celia, whom she recognises as none other than the girl who caused endless trouble during their schooldays. As the days unfold in her new employment, Jane comes face to face again with the unknown man, who fails to recognise her – and who appears to be Lady Celia’s lover.  

As the mystery unfolds, Jane’s employment as a companion becomes unbearable, especially when the Earl begins to make overtures towards her. Placed in an increasingly awkward situation, Jane is forced to make decisions – ones that may affect the rest of life….


Comments from users on Amazon

“I bought this book about 40/50 years ago (still got it, slightly worse for wear). Lost count of the many times I have read this story and enjoy it every time. I find it a lovely story and now will enjoy reading it again on my kindle. Many reviews have been a bit harsh imo but as it is free there is nothing lost by downloading it and try for yourselves.

I'm a romance book expert if I do say so myself and I was absolutely delighted at this little gem. Not too heavy but still couldn't put it down! Never read a "historical" romance but I will certainly look at more after this! Off to find more by this author! Five star loved it!”