Loved this h/h ... a good read!
This is an endearing story about a thirty-five year-old Marquess of Grayson who is dissatisfied with his life since he has returned from the Napoleonic Wars. He's put on weight, lost much of his hair and finds himself doing nothing worthwhile. He meets with his solicitor before going to the house party of his best friend. His solicitor asks Henry Hampton to take a message to another of his clients, a Miss Katherine Billings.
Kate's father has recently died and left his daughter penniless. She has found a job as a governess and is traveling there to take up her post. While on the way, she finds out from the locals that the man she is to work for is lecherous. Having no choice, Kate decides to go into the job wide awake to all of the dangers. The message from her solicitor will tell her that one of the many sketchings her father bought might be valuable (all the others are fakes).
Through a compounding of errors, Kate gets off the mail coach at the wrong stop and is picked up by the wrong person. He is expecting an actress and she is expecting a ride to her new job. Kate's father was an eccentric who escorted his daughter throughout Europe and was a devout fan of the Bard and other playwrights. Kate knows many of the plays by heart. When Kate meets the traveling Bladesworth thespian family, she feels a strong sense of home.
Meanwhile, Lord Grayson is accosted on a highway and shot during an inept attack by a highwayman. Grayson immediately thinks it is his worthless nephew, out to harm him. Injured and bleeding, Grayson happens upon a thespian group offering a performance in a local barn. He falls asleep in the actor's prop wagon and eventually meets the young woman for whom he has been searching. Grayson falls in love with Kate immediately; he knows it is unrealistic but he cannot bear to leave her. So he joins the acting group.
This is a charmingly-told story about a mismatched group of people who travel together and learn to listen to their hearts, even when it calls for ignoring class distinctions and family expectations.
The Bladesworth family are the real heroes of this tale; their love encompasses all whom they meet.