Most of the narrative revolves around almost-30-year-old “spinster,” Henrietta. Henrietta breaks up a match between her friend Melinda and wealthy bachelor James. Melinda wanted a love match, but James wanted a marriage of convenience. One of the stipulations of inheriting his great aunt’s estate is that he marries within a year of her death. If he doesn’t marry, his estate would shut down and all of his servants would lose their jobs.
Henrietta agrees to help James find a suitable wife after a courtship he was planning falls through. They end up falling in love with each other after spending some time together. Beyond that, Henrietta gets caught up in a murder plot for no apparent reason.
I like historical romances, in general. It’s funny when names, speech and narrative are anachronistic in order to make a modern-sounding love story. “And Then She Fell” reminded me of “Pride and Prejudice,” but it was dumbed down and made more “scandalous” with premarital sex, casual speech and bolder female characters.
I also loved how gossipy the women were in the story. Henrietta had a million friends and they all checked in on one another and acted as character references when gentlemen sought a wife.
Stephanie Laurens seemed to know what she was doing when it came to historical romance. A number of the characters that were already matched seemed to have a coinciding love story. A quick check on Goodreads showed that Laurens has been writing historical romance since the late ‘90s, and “And Then She Fell” was just one of many novels written about the same family.
Even the most enjoyable romance novels have their pitfalls, of course. Henrietta wasn’t a dumb heroine, but she was kind of forgettable. The first few chapters whizzed by and I felt like I really didn’t get to know or care about my hero and heroine characters. In addition, the murder plot was kind of a lame afterthought. Usually the hero and heroine get into some sort of row over a perceived deception, or if there is a murder plot it’s from a spurned former lover. This was just some random killer. I wasn’t really into it.
I would recommend reading this book if you like other historical romances or more of what Stephanie Laurens has to offer. I’d be interested in reading some of her older works. Her novels surrounding the Cynster family (Henrietta and her sisters and cousins) seem to be really fun and engaging and far more creative.