Bustling London in 1816 greets travellers from India. Grey
skies cover cobblestones, ravens and the Tower. A
marquess's son and daughter, part-Indian, set foot in
England. Meanwhile Phyllida, a well-bred but impoverished
local, plots with her brother to find themselves wealthy
spouses. Those who invite her to balls don't know that by
day she is a shopkeeper, speaking French as she sells
curiosities from many lands. Silk Oriental fans and
sandalwood are her stock in trade.
TARNISHED AMONG THE TON refers to the fact that handling
money was considered inappropriate for the wealthy. Anyone
engaged in trade could not attend the monarch's court.
Phyllida needs her disguise or her name will be tarnished,
and she has an additional problem making her less than
respectable. Ashe and Sara also plan to find marriage
partners, but their mixed heritage will not make that easy.
In India, 'women habitually covered their faces with their
dupattas, long semi-transparent scarves' so the disparity
with elegant young ladies at a society ball has Ashe
staring, until he realises where he's seen Phyllida
Louise Allen has created a marvel of contrasts in this
tale. The wealthy were heavily taxed to pay for the
defeat of Napoleon, so Indian nabobs suddenly became more
favoured - the fortunes to be made from a single East
Indiaman full of spice or tea could not be overlooked. By
contrast the Lancashire cotton mill owners, newly monied,
were seen as coarse.
I enjoyed TARNISHED AMONG THE TON from the start, its
humour, atmosphere and colour, and I expect that Louise
Allen had a lot of fun writing it. She is here continuing
an earlier tale of Indian adventure but enough time has
elapsed that this reads perfectly well as a standalone.
Give this lively romance a try.
Having survived the scandal of her birth with courage and
determination, the beautiful Phyllida has reached a
precarious balance within the ton. And in just one moment
Ashe Herriard, Viscount Clere, blows her world and her
carefully made plans to pieces.
Brought up in vibrant Calcutta, Ashe is disdainful of
polite London society, but something about Phyllida
intrigues him. There's a mystery surrounding her. A promise
of secrets and a hint of scandal-more than enough to entice