Her Grace in Disgrace by Claudia Harbaugh
The Widows of Woburn Place Book 1
Reviewed by Charlotte.
Her Grace in Disgrace is a first-class debut novel bearing elements of literary merit. The dialogue is crisp, the prose Austenesque in style. However there are inevitable downsides with omniscient head-hopping and a larger than average cast of peripheral characters. Throughout the convoluted storyline it becomes abundantly clear characters are destined to star in future books. The opening chapter starts well in lending reader sympathy to the recently widowed heroine. Her downfall during the reading of her late departed’s will is heart-rending, until it is later revealed her status as duchess came to fruition by feminine guile. From that point onward I quite disliked Isobel. She never really redeemed herself in my eyes, not even as a miraculously reformed benefactor to downfallen widows. Her scheming ways and blatant abuse of her would-be suitor and close friend Lord Saybrooke, simply damned her. I kept hoping and praying a nice girl would steal his heart and spirit him out of Isobel’s reach. Alas the sick fool lost all sense of reason in a fit of jealousy and succumbed to the inevitable. Needless to say my heart lay entirely with Lord Saybrooke, and may God save his soul from ruination at Isobel’s hands. Reviewer asides - There are many individual stories within this novel and really impossible to review each in turn. However, if you are inclined to multi-layered novels and a self-indulgent protagonist then Isobel is for you. I despised her. For all that said ‘Her Grace in Disgrace’ is a very good read.