A Very Reluctant Lady


The Honorable Alicia Deneham’s mother passed away at an age when she should have been learning how to flirt and polish those graces all debutantes aspire to secure a husband. Instead, she was learning how to breed thoroughbred race horses and excel at those talents polite society considered mannish. She never planned to marry until circumstances forced her to join the marriage mart.

Her father’s grief after losing his wife was a constant reminder why Alicia did not want to fall in love. She was even more resolute to marry for convenience when sparks ignited between her and an infuriating and handsome American named Kevin Donahue. The man was too much of a temptation and in a panic she singled out the eligible and receptive Lord Summers with her attention.

Kevin wasn’t fooled. As far as he was concerned, fate already matched him with Alicia, but can he convince a very reluctant lady to marry him for love, before she marries for convenience?



The remnants of a quarrel brought Kevin to an abrupt stop right when he entered the Tattersall's graveled courtyard. A lady's raised voice instinctively diverted his attention from the stables where he was bound to the outraged woman. He thought he might have to come to her rescue, until he recognized the man at the end of the lady's frustration was no other than Richard Tattersall: proprietor, grandson and namesake of the man once called "Honest Tatt." Whatever the quarrel, he knew the lady was in no danger. Richard, like his father and grandfather before him, was an honest man.

However, the lady was clearly outraged. She stood as stiff as a board with her arms straight and tight by her sides; both of her fists were clenched. Her deportment marked a tempest, but her rising blush over her unseemly outburst contrastingly made her appear more sweet than thunderous. She looked the height of fashion wearing a small hat adorned with a curved ostrich feather perched at an angle on her head of rich brown hair. She was quite attractive in her fitted cobalt blue riding habit made of fine Merino wool. The short-waist jacket accentuated her figure boasting of curves that made Kevin grin in appreciation. He quite enjoyed his inspection of her until his eyes returned to her beautiful oval face and found her light brown eyes smiting him. She deliberately snubbed her perfectly straight button nose up at him and turned her features away from his scrutiny. He wanted to laugh at her affront. Did the lady think her little snit would offend him? Hardly, his skin was too thick and his self-assurance too strong to be affected. If anything, he was amused and tempted to seek an introduction with the beautiful termagant should she still be around when he finished his business. 


A Very Reluctant Lady Discussion Questions

  1. Alicia’s character changes once she presents herself as a debutante.  Give examples and discuss how much, if any, surroundings and/or company influence one’s behavior..

  2. Charles has a biased opinion of Kevin before he gets to know him.  What caused him to form his first opinion and what did Kevin do to change it. Do people form biases today using similar circumstances?

  3. The author uses the word “friend” a number of times either in jest or seriousness. Give examples and explain how the word friend resonates with you.

  4. Protocol dictated how men and women were supposed to behave in Regency England. Give examples of some of the rules Alicia and Kevin had to follow and if any of those rules govern our behavior today.

  5. Both Alicia and Kevin refer to Alicia’s contrary nature. Give examples and discuss why her actions are contrary.

  6. On page 48, Baron Deneham first introduces the phrase “hearth and home” to Alicia. What did he mean by it? What if anything, does it mean to you?

  7. On pages 253-254, Baron Deneham advised, “Alicia, if I worried about what the future held, my life would be overwrought with caution and temperance. I would hinder any chance for happiness because I would not trust in there being any.”  What other life lessons or truisms can be found the story.



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