Cover image for The orphan
The orphan
Cameron, Stella.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ontario, Canada : Mira, 2002.
Physical Description:
395 pages ; 18 cm
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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Library
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Cameron returns to London's 7 Mayfair Square, where Latimer More, known as England's Most Daring Lover, risks his reputation by falling madly in love with a penniless nobody. Jenny McBride, an orphaned Scottish lass, is amazed by Latimer's advances, yet pushes him away. From the desperation and haunted look in Jenny's blue eyes, Latimer senses there is much more to her denial of him than meets the eye.

Author Notes

Stella Cameron was born and raised on the southern coast of England where she met her American husband at a party in London. After their marriage, she left England and went with husband Jerry to Washington State to make a home and raise a family. Like many authors, Stella began her literary career as a reader. As a young girl, Stella was a self-professed reading "addict", devouring all types of literature. She learned very early to retreat from the demands of others into a gentler world -- her own. As a child and a young adult, books saved her because they helped free her while they entertained her. Her love of reading always went side-by-side with her love of writing. Nineteenth-century author Jane Austen was a particular favorite, and Stella admits that she particularly enjoys reading and writing books set in the 1800s, as well as contemporary novels. In 1980, Stella decided she wanted to write professionally. She attended writing classes and wrote short literary fiction for a year. It was during this period that Stella discovered how well-written and intense romantic fiction could be. Using her newly acquired writing skills, she began to write contemporary romantic fiction for Harlequin Americans and Intrigues. After several years, she moved up to Harlequin SuperRomances. In 1992, she made the switch to single titles with her first historical, Only By Your Touch. She has also authored a series entitled Rossmara Quartet along with several other romance titles. Stella Cameron sees herself as an entertainer and historian who adds her perspective to contemporary values through writing.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Raised in an orphanage, Jenny McBride is a milliner's assistant living on her own in the slums of Whitechapel. Unfortunately, an act of kindness has made her fall behind on her rent. Her landlord has given her a few weeks to come up with the money, and if she doesn't, she belongs to him. Enter Latimore More. Although he's known throughout London for his talents in both boardroom and bedroom, he's inexplicably drawn to the infrequent visitor to his rooming house and begins to follow Jenny in order to know her better. Of course, there are obstacles to their union besides her landlord, not the least of which is a ghost. A Midsummer Night's Dream is mentioned quite often by said ghost and seems to be the armature of the story. Although it's definitely not Shakespeare, Cameron's romance is as populated as the play, which makes for some confusion, but fans of her Mayfair Square series will certainly enjoy this installment. Maria Hatton.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1823, Cameron's newest historical romance (after 7B) revisits the clutch of characters who wrestle with both danger and true love in the London town house of 7 Mayfair Square. Crabby ghost Sir Spivey has schemed with mixed results to rid his home of paying boarders, and this time his victim is Latimer More, known as "the Most Daring Lover in England." Latimer has set his sights on Jenny McBride, a spirited millinery assistant who Latimer believes will happily become "his unquestioning supporter in every decision, every endeavor" when he marries her and rescues her from poverty. Irrationally, Jenny resists Latimer's overtures because she believes he will be repelled when he learns of her oily landlord's plot to sell her to a wealthy patron. Characters from the earlier Mayfair Square adventures put in their two cents and Jenny's landlord continues his stalking, but the focus remains on Latimer and Jenny's romantic fireworks, which culminate in a sensual grand finale that showcases Latimer's virility. By far one of the strongest entries in this disjointed series, Cameron's latest boasts tight plotting and consistent characterizations. Even a few loose ends such as Jenny's unhappiness that she must leave her millinery job upon her marriage do not tarnish the overall shine of this polished romance. (Mar.) Forecast: Cameron's brand-name recognition coupled with an aggressive print and radio advertising campaign will foster strong and steady sales, but this lusty historical is unlikely to match the best-selling heights of her contemporary romantic suspense novels due to the series' inconsistency and its inclusion of the paranormal. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One 7 Mayfair Square, London. 1823. I want to orient you, to give you the clearest possible picture of your magnificent surroundings. And who better than this renowned ghost to accomplish the task, I ask you? Allow me to introduce myself. I am the late Sir Septimus Spivey, noted architect knighted for his extraordinary designs, his innovative contributions to the face of this fair city, and his selfless pursuit of excellence for King and country. I am also the visionary artist behind the conception of 7 Mayfair Square. This most beautiful house in England was built for my descendants, not, no, no, no, never... Forgive me if I pause. Even when one has no blood to boil, extreme agitation can still rattle this or that. It is absolutely not on for my great-granddaughter, Lady Hester Bingham, to continue taking paying guests (her so-called protegés) into my home. I digress, but have not forgotten what I promised to do for you. It is difficult to remain focused when there is so much activity all about one. I must remember to tell you the latest about my would-be nemesis, Shakespeare. If you don't recall the name, don't bother to look him up. Not worth it. He's been here--you know, beyond--much longer than I have and I fear he is becoming buffle-headed in his extreme age. One tries to be generous, despite the fellow's taunts. I digress again. More of Shakespeare later. My chosen resting place is in one of the magnificently carved newel posts at the foot of the stairs at Number 7, and on those occasions when I must travel elsewhere, I do not leave it gladly. Unfortunately, in addition to the inconvenience of dealing with the annoyances here, I am also required to continue training as a member of the Passed Over. Gliding, flying, entering without breaking-- or opening--and so on. Attending Angel School is a particular trial to me, although I believe I have impressed some of my teachers. But, and most tedious, I cannot avoid mingling with certain others who fancy themselves worthy, or even superior acquaintances. So it is that Shakespeare wafts into my space from time to time. Do you know that he calls me "That ghost in a post?" Of all the unforgivable... Later. Back to Number 7. Across an expanse of perfect black and white marble tiles in the foyer, I face the front door. All the better to see who comes and goes. To my right (your left if you're entering the house--which you are unlikely to be invited to do) are the rooms known as 7A. This is where the current object of my undivided attention lives, one Latimer More, successful Importer of Rarities and Oddities. Which probably means he's nothing but a purveyor of cheap foreign rubbish. He is, in fact (and I shudder at the thought) the disinherited son of a Cornish China Clay Merchant. That's right--a tradesman's brat. No matter how much blunt he's managed to winkle out of unsuspecting clients with deep pockets and shallow brains, without extraordinary intervention Latimer is not and never can be a Person of Importance. Regardless of his purported handsomeness and his pleasing presence that makes the ladies twitter, presently the ton is beyond his reach and what else matters, I ask you--what else? I should mention that Latimer's sister, Finch, was the focus of one of my more successful missions. She used to live here with her brother but I managed to marry her off to a neighbor, Ross, Viscount Kilrood. Although they return from Scotland to Number 8 on occasion, and despite their free use of this house, there is no question of the Viscountess resuming residence at Number 7. Too bad the rest of that plan didn't work, the part in which Latimer would go to live with the Kilroods. Was that so much to ask? I'll come back to Latimer More. To my left (your right if you're still in the same place) are rooms that were woefully neglected for years. Now they are expensively transformed but much too dull for my taste. Hester's nephew, Sir Hunter Lloyd, and his wife Sibyl--together with their squalling offspring--use these spaces when they are in residence. They have also commandeered most of the second floor, including a handsome library and a small but exquisite music room, although the quarters called 7B where Sibyl Smiles and her sister Meg lived before their marriages, remain much as they were. How did I manage to mention 7B so calmly when I am about to embark on an exhausting mission to make sure it remains empty? Strength of character and will prevailed. Hester occupies half of the third floor numbered--don't complain to me about confusion--Number 7. I must confess to a certain softening of my heart, the region that was my heart, that is, when I contemplate the lady. But after all, we share blood and she is, if moon-minded, a generous woman. The rest of the floor belongs--no, is used--by Hunter and Sibyl, and, may the saints preserve me, a foundling child of barely seven years, Birdie. Hester wants to adopt her, but I have other plans. Note that, although Sibyl married just as I had decided she should and no longer lives at 7B, I did not succeed in removing her from the house. My, my, I grow fatigued by my efforts to educate you--and to enlist your help. Please, dear friends, I fear there is an exasperating road ahead and I pray you will become my extra eyes and ears. I don't need your mouths unless I ask you to speak. I forgot the servants' quarters over the back wing of the house. Easily done, given their lack of importance. Below stairs, the kitchens, pantry, dairy, and the rest of the essential facilities are well proportioned. Tucked into the L-shape behind the building is a garden that is both charming and productive. In mews beyond the back gate lie stables with coachmen's quarters above. The entire household staff at Number 7 is a disgrace and should be let go at once. I'll say no more on that subject. Now, to my problem. I have mentioned these "protegés" of Hester's. You now know that for several years I have struggled to get rid of them. My gentle heart would never allow me to do other than provide for their happiness at the same time, but I'm beginning to think that my softness works against me. I have had little fortune in getting rid of any of them permanently. They multiply rather than divide. Or they divide, then multiply and stay--or leave and come back--or waft in and out. Oh, fie, I am beside myself. Might as well tell the truth of it: these intruders are lodgers and this is little more than a high-class boarding-house. The shame would be the death of me, if one was able to manage that more than once. Enough self-pity, even though I have every right to complain. Despite the thoughtless, selfish disregard for the dignity of my home, and despite repeatedly foiled attempts to correct the travesty, I am prepared to carry on until my will prevails. To this end I have another plan. As with my former efforts, there will be a marriage--possibly two--and with the inevitable success of my brilliant plan, this time I shall all but rid the premises of unwanted strangers. I have decided to tolerate Hunter and his family. After all, there is at least some distant relationship there. First things first. When Meg Smiles married Count Etranger she also gained Princess Desirée, the count's insupportably forward young half sister. This impudent European royal has set her cap at, of all men, Adam Chillworth who lives in the attic at Number 7. I'm embarrassed to so much as mention that his address is 7C. Chillworth is a great, glowering north-countryman who fancies himself an artist. His being allowed to paint the princess--several times--by her careless brother has only encouraged the girl's tendre for Chillworth. That is a marriage I could never pull off. But, despite his common beginnings, Latimer More has the makings of a pseudo-gentleman, the manner and so forth. Seems to me that he could be groomed to at least appear polished. Etranger is bound to be overcome with relief to have his sister saved from the stained fingers, the big, stained fingers, of an uncultured dauber, especially if some of that intervention I mentioned is exerted with the ton. Wonderful, you say? Get on with it, man, you say? Well, don't order me about. What I haven't told you is that Latimer is besotted with one of Sibyl's stray friends, one Jenny McBride, a Scot (naturally) who is a milliner's assistant in a shop on Bond Street. You don't think that's so terrible? Well, the frightful possibilities make me feel faint. Jenny McBride is a pauper and an orphan. She is shabby beyond belief. Shabby and scrawny, with imputdent green eyes. And those eyes, their inviting expression, have Latimer going forth to Bond Street each day where he makes a cake of hmself by prentending to encounter her by accident. And his sleeplessness, the set of his jaw, the determination with which he pursues her, are all too familiar. He intends to have her. And I know what his first step will likely be, only it's not going to happen. Excerpted from The Orphan by Stella Cameron. Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.