July 20, 2013
I was given an epub form of this story by the author, CJ Archer. I really enjoyed her last series about a young Medium in London in the 1800’s so I was excited to receive this book from her!
The Wrong Girl is also set in the late 1800’s. The story centers around a young woman named Hannah Smith, the companion to a lord’s daughter, Lady Violet of Windamere Manor. The two girls have spent nearly 15 years in the attic of this fine house, living a spare and somewhat lonely existence, because of the strange malady that afflicts Lady Violet. It seems that whenever Lady Violet is upset or frightened she has a tendency to start things on fire. At the same time Hannah experiences fits of narcolepsy and rarely remembers anything that happens during a fire-starting. Because of this, Lord Wade has found it to be more convenient to lock his daughter and her companion up with only Miss Levine, the governess, as a steady presence in their lives than to deal with her on a daily basis. Hannah’s parents died when she was young and so now she finds herself in a position that allows her many comforts she would not have had she ended up in the orphanage, yet she is also a prisoner. Hannah realizes she is fortunate, yet she longs for a more normal life.
Her chance to escape comes in a most unusual way when she is kidnapped while out on a walk with Miss Violet and their governess on the grounds of the Manor. Whisked away in a carriage she finds herself a guest of a most unusual pair of people and their supposed uncle in a place known by the locals as Freak House. Jack Langley, the nephew, explains that she has been kidnapped so he can help her learn how to control her fire-starting, since he also is a fire-starter. Hannah realizes then that he meant to take Lady Violet so she decides to play along with them and see what they are truly about before she lets them know they have the wrong girl. She also finds herself quite attracted to Jack and spending time with him sounds like a lot more fun than sitting in an attic…
I can say that I really enjoyed this book. It is the first in a series, and Ms Archer did a wonderful job setting the scene for future books in this first story. The characters are qwirky, the storyline is intriguing, and you have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. How is Hannah going to pretend to start fires? What if Jack finds out she is lying? What about the mysterious uncle and why is he interested in Hannah’s abilities?
There is a budding romance between Jack and Hannah, but they quickly discover it may be doomed before it can truly blossom. Apparently Jack is able to control his fire-starting tendencies until he is romantically interested in a girl. Then things get a little out of control and the action truly gets hot!
CJ Archer writes young adult historical fiction. If you enjoy these types of books I believe you will really like her stories. Her characters are always a little different–they don’t fit into the society in which they live–which I find makes them more interesting. I can’t wait to read the next installment in her Freak House series!