The Marleigh Sisters: Book 1
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
Amita Murray takes us on a journey from the pleasure gardens of society to the dangerous streets of 19th century London, in this spectacular romantic debut by an unforgettable new voice.
“Women mind their reputation if they want to marry. I don’t want to marry.”
As the eldest daughter of an English earl and his Indian mistress, Lila Marleigh knows what it’s like to be an outsider from “polite” society. As children, she and her sisters were wrenched from their home and sent to England, never quite accepted by those who claimed to care for them. Now Lila has set herself up as hostess of an exclusive gaming club, charming the ton that flocks to her establishment each night, though it shuns her by day.
One night, Ivor Tristram comes barging through her door, accusing her of being his father’s mistress. Lila defies his expectations at every step and convinces him to navigate London’s rat pits and pleasure gardens with her, in her quest to solve a violent crime.
As they set out together to uncover the truth, an irresistible passion ignites that will shake them to the core. Lila must fight to protect those she loves, yet the biggest threat is to the sanctity of the heart she has guarded so carefully all her life.
Lila Marleigh is everything she is and is not supposed to be. Beautiful? Of course. Smart? Definitely. Kind and considerate? Surprisingly so. Conventional? Absolutely not. Amita Murray has masterfully conjured up a heroine in Unladylike Lessons in Love that is thoroughly and totally vexing while also admirably independent and clever.
And . . . unmistakably captivated by the tall, dark, brooding visitor to her gambling salon, Ivor Tristram.
Lila Marleigh owns gambling salons for the well-to-do, attracting glittering crowds each night.
Ivor Tristram comes one night, determined to find out more about her. He’s been told Lila is his father’s mistress . . . but is she? In the meantime, Ivor’s young cousin, Tiffany, is attacked in Ivor’s study by who everyone assumes to be Sunil Mehta, a lowly lascar.
Maisie Quinn, a long-lost friend of Lila’s, knows Sunil is innocent and begs Lila’s help to prove his innocence. Lila uses Ivor’s mistaken assumption of her being his father’s mistress as leverage to gain his help in determining the truth. Through a series of adventures from the depths of London’s infamous rat pit to Lila’s glittering salons and her infamously wanton participation in the race to Brighton, Ivor, and Lila work together brilliantly, only to fall prey to their desire for one another in an on-again, off-again (but mainly on-again) tumultuous relationship.
When success in determining Tiffany’s attacker is in their grasp, will Ivor lose Lila to yet another impulsive action where her only thought is protecting someone she loves? His life—their love—hangs precariously in the balance.
Amita Murray’s brilliant grasp of past fears imposed upon current behaviors is powerfully revealed in interactions between Lila and Ivor, making their characters—flaws in all—completely relatable.
Unladylike Lessons in Love is a romance within a mystery, within a whodunnit with plenty of sparks, sexual tension, and intrigue for even the most discriminating reader. Get ready for a quick, fun, and totally immersive read.
Amita is a writer, based in London. She writes in two genres: contemporary mystery and historical mystery romance. Her Arya Winters series of mysteries is published with Agora. The first came out in 2021. Her mystery novel Thirteenth Night won the Exeter Novel Prize in 2022. Her first novel The Trouble with Rose came out with Harper Collins in 2019.