Published in 2010
H/h - Adam St. Just/Arabella Knightley
Read in August, 2015.
I wasn’t surprised to find that Emily May’s The Unmasking of a Lady a wonderfully sweet read. I’m a big fan of her historical romances under Emily Larkin and have been meaning to read the Emily May books for a while now. So glad that I finally did as it didn’t disappoint!
Arabella Knightley is the granddaughter of an Earl. By all means, her life should’ve been a fairytale. If not, at least she shouldn’t want for anything while growing up. Sadly, that can’t be said about our Bella. Her years as a child, growing up in a slum alongside her fallen woman of a mother (I hate to call her a prostitute, you’ll know why in a bit), may have shaped her perspective of people, and life in general, but it didn’t steal away her inherent goodness of character. Arabella is kind and generous. Life has taught her lessons from experience no kid should have to face but it has also given her some directions on how she should structure her own. That is, by doing good for those children of the slum; of whom no one ever thinks. No one cares about whatever happens to them. They’re forgotten just as easily since the moment they’re born.
You ask, how can a girl grown up in a slum is going to help these kids? For that we have to delve a little further into her ill fated parents’ life. Arabella’s father was the second son of the Earl of Westcote. A painter and artist, he went to Paris at a young age and fell in love with a Parisian beauty; a love young woman from a good family. Unfortunately, Arabella’s mother’s whole family was executed in one fell swoop, so she had to leave with her husband to an unknown land. In London, the pompous, fool of an Earl, disowns his son because he didn’t approve of the match. He had the heir and a spare, so what does it matter if this one discarded, right? Both Edward and Therese were forced to live in baseline poverty, with meager income from the selling of his paintings. Then Arabella was born. She even had good life with her parents until Edward succumbs to a fever. Without any other way to support herself and her child, Therese seeks help from her in-laws, only to be turned out by the pathetically prideful Earl once again.