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Dismissed from her post at a London firm after forging her own character letter, Betsey Dobson heads for Idensea, a seaside resort on England's south coast. She needs the letter to secure the position of excursions manager, arranging outings for groups of London day-trippers. But John Jones hires Betsey anyway because of her determination and drive. John, who has spent four years supervising construction of the resort's pleasure railway and indoor amusement park, clashes with Sir Alton Dunning, who wants to maintain his hotel's elegant exclusivity. In addition to completing the park, John's plans also include finding a rich wife. Yet Betsy intrigues him, even after he learns how she was seduced and abandoned by the young gentleman in the household where she once worked as a maid. Delays and disasters dog the amusement park and excursions, with Betsey's employment future constantly in doubt. But romance readers can be certain that her personal future will include John. VERDICT This debut novel suffers from an excess of minor characters and subplots, but the central relationship sweeps readers to a satisfying conclusion. Fans of Victorian-era romances will enjoy this seaside diversion.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Atlee's outstanding debut unflinchingly explores the harrowing difficulties faced by an indigent young woman trying to support herself in the harsh and unforgiving man's world of Victorian England. "All angles and points," both physically and emotionally, Miss Betsey Dobson is determined to prove herself in the grueling secretarial pool at the London firm of Baumston & Smythe, Insurers, but she's at the mercy of gossiping co-workers and a lecherous junior clerk. Betsey takes her revenge and escapes, near-penniless, to the carefully researched seaside resort town of Idensea, where she's offered a well-paying tour-manager job by young John Jones, a Welshman with "a good face, open as a summer window." Betsey's fierce struggles to preserve her independence and succeed in a job she knows perilously little about parallel the poignantly crescendoing attraction between her and John, complicated by his determination to "marry up"-perchance to slyly drawn villainess Miss Lillian Gilbey. Atlee's splendid cast of supporting characters, her insights into Betsey's passion for independence and John's compassion for the downtrodden, and her fine eye for period detail make this an unusually satisfying feast for romance readers. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen, Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Betsey Dobson's career as a typewriter girl comes to an abrupt end after a run-in with a lecherous junior clerk. With no letter of reference and no money to pay the fare, she boards a train that will take her from London to Idensea, where she has a vague hope of a job. Fortunately, John Jones, a Welsh engineer with the Idensea Pier and Seaside Pleasure Building Company, puts her to work managing excursions. Betsey turns out to be a shrewd businesswoman, but the excursion scheme isn't popular with the company's owner, Sir Alton, who doesn't like the idea of daytrippers mucking up his posh resort. Nor does Sir Alton care for the nearly completed pleasure railway that John is constructing. Theiralliance against Sir Alton helps stir up the attraction John and Betsey feel, but her old London lover and his near-engagement to a wealth heiress complicate matters. Readers should like Betsey, a feisty heroine who stands up for herself. The other characters and the book's setting will also appeal.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2010 Booklist