Set in Gilded Age America, a young woman must choose between circumstance and destiny. Orphaned as small children, Sterling Redmond and her older sister Charlotte are raised by their grandfather at the family’s Maryland country estate of Northampton. Charlotte blossoms into a famed Baltimore beauty, but Sterling is more interested in books and horseback riding than feminine pursuits. Concerned that her niece will never find a suitable husband among the local Baltimore gentry, Madame De Chant whisks Sterling away to Belle Époque Paris in search of a gentleman who can understand her. In their absence, Nicholas Pembroke, the son of an English earl, takes up residence in the manor bordering Northampton. When Sterling and her aunt return to America for Charlotte’s wedding, Sterling finds that her perfect husband is living right next door. But there is a problem: he is already engaged to marry Charlotte.
Excerpt from Sterling Redmond:
“Sterling Redmond walked into the room, and Nicholas saw her for the first time. He had not yet met her, but Charlotte had told him this about her: she was dull. Her disposition was too serious. Some called her a bluestocking. In short, she was a problem. A young woman of such a prominent and influential Baltimore family was expected to secure a marriage worthy of her social status. After two seasons in Paris, where her great-aunt Madame De Chant maintained a household, she had yet to win a firm offer of marriage. There was a growing impatience among her closest family members, who wondered if her education and forthright manner prevented any positive momentum in this direction, and to make matters worse, Charlotte complained, the young woman seemed not the slightest bit interested in abandoning her independence. Charlotte painted her sister’s prospects in such a dim light that Nicholas was astonished when the supposedly awkward and plain sister walked into the drawing room, and he saw a creature quite unlike the one described to him. Two years spent in Europe had clearly transformed the younger Miss Redmond into something unrecognizable.”