The Autumn Bride Australia

“I was sure I saw that knife go into you. The villain had to tug to retrieve it. But it was that.”

She looked down and made a small exclamation.

“It’s been cut.”

She opened the reticule, examing the contents and took out a small, leather-bound book. She held it up so that he could see it. “My book was stabbed!”

He gave a curt nod. That book had saved her life.

The Autumn Bride, p 193



The Autumn Bride is award-winning author Anne Gracie‘s latest book. It’s the first in ‘The Chance Sisters’ series, which focuses on four young women, sisters Abigail (Abby) and Jane Chantry, and their friends Damaris and Daisy, who band together to become sisters in arms in 1816 London, in order to survive the harsh situation they find themselves in. Book 1 deals with Abby’s story.

While many of the themes found in The Autumn Bride – such as female disenfranchisement; the crushing expectation of societal mores; the vagaries of the class system; honour/dishonour; duty vs love and extreme wealth vs poverty – are well-known to Gracie fans, the execution of them in this book is, of course, original and is carried out in the author’s own individualistic style.

Gracie books always combine faultless research, historical detail and well-constructed plots, with believable protagonists (whether male or female), who have faults, are often stubborn, and yet, even when faced with adversity, somehow manage to retain their sense of humour. This book finds Gracie at the top of her game.

The Autumn Bride opens in 1805 and introduces young Max, Lord Davenham, as he discovers that his rackety dead uncle has left his estate in ruins and more importantly, Max’s beloved aunt, Lady Beatrice, pretty much destitute. Ever resourceful, Max comes up with an idea to save face and to hide the extent of the problem from Lady Beatrice. This, however, results in him leaving England to seek his fortune in Malacca, formerly in the Dutch East Indies, while his aunt continues to reside in comfort in London.

Fast-forward 11 years to 1816, where Abby, the protagonist of this book, is employed in London as a long-suffering governess to the children of the Masons, a wealthy, rather obnoxious couple. Orphaned at a young age, Abby has, for many years tried to support herself and her beloved sister, Jane, whom she believes is now employed as a companion to a vicar’s wife in Hereford. After an encounter with a young maidservant (Daisy), Abby discovers that her sister is, in fact, being held captive in a London brothel. With Daisy’s help, Abby rescues Jane before she is completely ruined – and manages to pick up Daisy and Jane’s friend and fellow brothel captive, Damaris, along the way. Thus, the ‘Chance Sisters’ are born.

Abby’s good heart leads her to help Lady Beatrice, whom she encounters when she tries to rob the old lady. When she finds her destitute, malnourished and abused by the servants who are meant to be looking after her, Abby takes Lady Beatrice under her wing as well. Abby and the girls move into Lady Beatrice’s home and, despite their different backgrounds, pretend to be her nieces. While they assume responsibility for Lady Beatrice, bringing her back to life, when Max reappears in London, he is immediately suspicious, as it’s evident that the ‘sisters’ have something to hide. He chooses to believe that Abby is taking advantage of his aunt.

After a series of rather violent encounters with would-be kidnappers, murderers and sex traffickers and the appearance of a very inconvenient fiancée, Max and Abby eventually discover the truth about one another and the path to true love is suddenly clear.

What makes The Autumn Bride work so well is Gracie’s very careful development of her characters and also the hinterland of London society, in which even the rich can be abused, if they are elderly and alone. While the ‘Chance Sisters’ are disempowered at the beginning of the book, so is Max, who is a victim of his circumstances. An honourable young man, whose word is his bond, Max will do anything to save his beloved aunt, the woman who saved him and loved him when no one else did, and he makes a deal with the devil to enable Lady Beatrice to maintain her lifestyle and role as a prominent hostess in London society. In doing this, he proves his merit as a Regency hero and yet also shows weakness, behaving as a typical man of his time by making decisions for Lady Beatrice without asking her what she actually thinks or feels. His views and opinions are challenged by his interactions with Abby, the other Chance Sisters (a few kittens) and his reacquaintance with his aunt – and he becomes a better man for it.

This is a very entertaining book and a great introduction to the world of the ‘Chance Sisters’. The short quotes from Jane Austen, which open each chapter, also pay fine tribute to the Queen of Regency novels. And this is a fine tribute. Personally, I can’t wait until April for the next book, The Winter Bride, Damaris’s Story.


See also:Anne Gracie – an Australian Dream come true‘ in The Literary Lounge.


The Autumn Bride was published in 2013. The Winter Bride is published in April 2014.













Photographs in article: The Autumn Bride (Australian cover; above) and The Winter Bride (US edition cover supplied by the author; above) are both used for promotional purposes only.

Notice: Please note the above images and quotations other than those in the Q&A are intended to be for promotional purposes only. In no way, have we have intentionally breached anyone’s copyright.

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