Elinor was raised to affluence, but when her father gambles away the family fortune, and then commits suicide, Elinor's comfortable life comes tumbling down. She is forced to consider becoming a governess to support herself. As she arrives in an unfamiliar town to take up her first position, she accidentally goes away in the wrong carriage and ends up at the wrong estate. There she meets Lord Carlyon who believes she is a woman he hired to marry his wastrel nephew Eustace Cheviot. When the mistake is discovered, Carlyon convinces Elinor, against her better judgement, to marry his nephew, who has been mortally wounded. The marriage ceremony takes place, Eustace dies, and Elinor finds herself a widow to a man she never knew. She soon discovers that as Mrs. Cheviot she has inherited a dilapidated estate, a very attentive extended family, and a role in an international espionage mystery.
Of course, this is not a children's novel. It is a period romance, and was a perfect delight to read. It is how I managed to get through the other two novels I was trying to read, but didn't like. I would read the distasteful novels until I couldn't stand it, and then treat myself to a couple of chapters of Georgette Heyer. It never failed to put a smile on my face. (316 p)