Character Sketch and Background
Society’s Most Disreputable Gentleman
GREVILLE ANDERS, 6' 1", Auburn Hair, Green Eyes
The youngest child and only son of a clergyman father who was a nobleman’s younger son, Greville grows up spoiled by his father and sisters and resentful that an accident of birth has made him a mere “mister” while his cousin Nicholas, hero of THE WEDDING GAMBLE, is Marquess of Englemere. He drifts through life, takes a small part in the battle of Waterloo as a commissary agent for the Army, and returns home afterward, his batman in tow, to seek a position from Nicky, who hires him to manage one of his minor estates. Persuaded by his associate to delegate all authority for working Blenhem Hill to him, he indulges himself playing “lord of the manor” and partying with doxies and dissolute friends. Sometime later, Greville is shocked to discover his associate has been mistreating the tenants and embezzling money. When he confronts the man over this, he’s knocked on the head, sold to press gang, and wakes up to find himself on a prison hulk, awaiting transport to HMS “Illustrious.”
Nine months as a deckhand on a man-of-war radically alters Greville’s view of himself and his world. When he’s transferred back to England after being seriously wounded in a battle with privateers, cousin Nicky arranges for him to recover as a guest of Lord Bronning. The baron’s estate is near the Coastal Station to which Greville will be assigned while the Admiralty sorts out the matter of his illegal impressment.
It just so happens that Lord Bronning’s daughter is the girl who refused Ned Greaves, hero of FROM WAIF TO GENTLEMAN’S WIFE, (and whose wife, WAIF’s heroine Joanna, is Greville’s sister.) The beautiful Amanda Neville makes little effort to conceal the fact that she is less than impressed with her father’s unusual guest, a response that both amuses and piques Greville. Since Miss Neville is soon to leave for her long-awaited London Season, there’d be no harm in Greville tweaking her with a little idle flirtation…would there?
AMANDA NEVILLE, 5'2", golden hair, deep blue eyes
Amanda Neville grew up on her grandmother’s tales about her friend and great political hostess Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Encouraged by both grandmother and mother, Amanda longs to leave her father’s country estate in Devon, have a brilliant debut, marry a gentleman high in government service, and become a political hostess at whose dinners and soirees the business of the nation is discussed and decided.
Her longed-for Season has been delayed first by her grandmother’s illness and death, then a year later by the illness and death of her mother and aunt. In the midst of her own sadness and scarcely recovered from the malady that took away those dear to her, she’s had to assume control of the household for a father still deeply grieving, a brother who seems to delight in getting into trouble, and her orphaned cousin Althea Holton, who used to follow her around like a shadow and now resents everything she says and does.
Her mother’s last wish was that she allow nothing else to delay her long-planned debut. Secretly relieved that she will soon quit Ashton Grove and all its sad memories, she’s in the midst of planning to join mother’s good friend Lady Parnell in London for the upcoming Season when the Marquess of Englemere asks her father to house his cousin, a Royal Navy man wounded on active service.
Her delight in doing a favor for a marquess quickly evaporates when she meets the wounded man who limps into her father’s entry hall. Surely this grimy, tattered common sailor couldn’t be the cousin of a marquess? Her initial disdain turns to shock and unease when she meets Greville two days later, rested, dressed as a gentleman – and shockingly attractive, both to her and her impressionable young cousin Althea. And what she’s hoped will be a swift departure from the country to the excitement of London suddenly becomes much more complicated.