A Reluctant Debut


Richard Bolton, the Earl of Belcrave discovers his younger son Harry married the common Miss Rebecca Barrington and sends his eldest son, Thomas, Viscount Bolton to bring the newlyweds to London. Not only does the girl lack title and fortune, but she is responsible for the duel that caused her father’s death and brother’s exile. Belcrave is incensed to find scandal attached to the Bolton name and plans to rectify the situation.

Rebecca Barrington faced ruin until she met and married Lord Harry Bolton. Now, to reach for a happy-ever-after she must travel to London’s prestigious Mayfair and be presented to the ton as Mrs. Harry Bolton. She is reluctant to make her debut and even more fearful her secret will be ferreted out. Can she endure the ton’s censure and scorn; and even more importantly, can her marriage survive once her secret is revealed?


Harry flopped on his back and then pulled Becca into the side of his body, cuddling her into his warmth. He placed his head on hers and cooed, “Becca, tell me your greatest wish.”

Turning her face to his, she replied, “I already have it.”

“And what is it?” pressed Harry.


“Ah,” he grinned and kissed her nose. “Our great-est wishes have been fulfilled.”  He kissed her again, this time on her mouth. “Tell me another wish I might grant when we go to London?”

“London?” she queried and tossed the idea around in her mind. “To be accepted among those important to you.”
Harry shook his head and said, “You will have to choose another wish for that one is assured.”

“Well, it is my wish.”

“Request another,” he pressed. “Ask me to squire you about for I want to be congratulated on my good fortune. We can eat an ice at Gunther’s; ride through Hyde Park in the afternoon with the rest of the ton;  see a performance at Astley’s Amphitheatre; enjoy the opera at the Royal Theatre; shop on Bond Street; ascend in a balloon from Green Park; see the menagerie at the Tower of London; walk amongst the flowers at Kew Gardens,..”

“Oh stop, Harry!”

“None interest you?”

“Everything interests me as long as I am with you.” Rebecca sobered and asked, “Harry, do you suppose you can love me no matter what might transpire in the future?”

Harry saw the worry in Rebecca’s face and asked, “What are you afraid of Becca?”

“Can you answer me without knowing, Harry?”

Harry turned to hover over her and answered, “Without a doubt, my darling wife. I will love you no matter what might transpire in our future.”

Rebecca drew her arms around him and hugged him, hoping it was true.



A Reluctant Debut Discussion Questions

  1. On page 25, Thomas reflects how his brother has a “tendency to aid the downtrodden, be it beast or brethren.” Harry’s compassion and kindness are distinct character traits for him. Why do you think Harry proposed marriage to Rebecca? Was it the desire to rescue her, love at first sight, or the hope of a loving union? Select passages to support your answer. 

  2. On page 35, Arabella remarks to Rebecca, “I will not have [the Earl and Countess of Belcrave] think we are country bumpkins. We may not be titled, but our dear departed mama raised us properly.” Pick out some scenes to show how Rebecca knew to behave properly and how knowing helped her make her debut.

  3. Arabella is four years older than Rebecca; Thomas is ten years older than Harry. How do their age differences affect their relationships? For example, do Rebecca and Harry defer to their elder siblings, treat them as equals, or both? Give examples to support your answer, showing how their interactions lend humor, compassion, temper or drama to the story.

  4. On page 163, Thomas remarked how “his mother might have selected [Rebecca] for him if [she had] owned a title and wealth. After all, she was pretty, petite, and shy; alluding she would make an obedient wife.” Is his description of Rebecca accurate or false? Give examples to support your answer.

  5. On page 219, after Rebecca’s musical debut, the Countess of Belcrave remarks, ”Oh my! You do surprise one!”  Explain what drew the countess’ remark and provide any other examples where Rebecca, whether in manners/actions/ remarks surprised, not only Harry’s family, but the ton at large.

  6. On page 224, the Earl of Belcrave remarks, “Do you suppose in such a short acquaintance I have come to like the chit?” Why do you think the earl thinks kindly of Rebecca?  Pick out some scenes to support your answer.

  7. What is your favorite scene from the story and why?




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A Reluctant Debut