Shady Lady - Elizabeth Thornton

Elizabeth Thornton has been a hit-and-miss author for me, with the misses probably exceeding the hits.  But this book is definitely a hit.

 

Mrs. Jo Chesney is a widow who has taken over her late husband's weekly newspaper and turned it into a going concern. A popular column in the weekly is "Lady Tellall's" society gossip column. When the book opens, Chloe, who is "Lady Tellall", appears to be in a very dangerous situation, apparently due to something she wrote in the column. She manages to write a cryptic note to Jo before she disappears and a few weeks later is feared to be murdered. The story is about Jo's search for Chloe. Jo is aided in the search, almost against her wishes, by a society gentleman, Mr. Waldo Bowman, whom she met when he invaded her office because he, too, was upset about something that was written about him in Lady Tellall's column. Waldo, of course, becomes smitten with Jo and can't keep away from her, while she takes a good while coming around to admitting her feelings for him after the initial bad impression she had of him. There is also a child in the story, an orphan of uncertain parentage who has to be rescued from a brutal school headmaster. Waldo's care of the boy goes a long way toward redeeming him in Jo's eyes.

 

The mystery is good, the characters are sympathetic and well-drawn, the story has a strong historical feel, and even though Jo is characterized as being hot-tempered, she is definitely not TSTL (which I've found too often with the heroines of Elizabeth Thornton's books). Waldo is an alpha hero, but a very nice one.  I can certainly recommend this one to lovers of Regency romance with a bit of mystery on the side.