Lord Ryburn's Apprentice
Georgiana Marland has spent the past six years in a London girl’s school, the last two as a teacher. She has had no word from her mother in years and was left at the school to support herself. Her life changes forever when she receives a letter from Lady Escott, a distant relation, who proposes to make Georgiana her ward and bring her out into society. Lady Escott is a querulous old lady who thinks that taking Georgiana under her wing would be a fine project and help ease her boredom. It also doesn’t hurt that Lady Escott’s long-time rival is bringing out her own granddaughter this Season, which helps to fuel Lady Escott’s competitive juices. She also enlists her grandnephew’s reluctant help in tutoring Georgiana in the ways of the ton.
Hugh, Viscount Ryburn and heir to an earldom, is not impressed with the scheme…or Georgiana. Though she is a beautiful girl and he can’t help flirting with her, he worries that she is taking advantage of his aunt and may have unsavory relations in her background that could reflect poorly upon the family. When Lady Escott decides to make the girl her sole heir, Hugh speeds up his investigation into Georgiana’s past and her mother’s present location.
Georgiana has a difficult time adjusting to her new circumstances. Though she revels in her new physical comforts, she recognizes that she may actually have less freedom and privacy and is finding her new life as stultifying as her old one, though in different ways. And Hugh’s flirting only confuses the very sheltered girl who is already in awe of his good looks and aristocratic bearing, and she quickly falls in love with him – though for no readily apparent reason.
Bishop’s new trad Regency takes all the expected steps in a book of this type: the visits to the modiste, the rides in the park, securing vouchers to Almack’s, the first waltz, etc. The familiarity of these elements can bring a sense of comfort to the reader – it is well-trodden ground with well-known characters – but there was nothing in the writing or the characters to lift this reading experience from the predictable and ordinary. The only time I was surprised was when we learned what happened to Georgiana’s mother.
Lord Ryburn’s Apprentice is your basic C read: nothing too exciting, nothing too annoying – your basic bland vanilla, which can be very comfortable, if that’s what you’re looking for.