An Inheritance for the Birds
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Pages: 97
Goes Well With: small bits of stale bread

When I’m in the market for a new book to read, you never really know what will pique my interest. Sometimes it’s the cover (brawny, shirtless men wearing kilts usually does the trick), sometimes it’s the title (I’m especially fond of “punny” titles). When dealing with the list of Lunch Break E-books, though, I don’t have the luxury of seeing the book covers (no shirtless, kilted men for me). So when I saw the title, An Inheritance for the Birds, I was definitely interested. From the description, the book seemed a little silly and improbable, which turned out to be true. But it was also whimsical and romantic and altogether charming.

Mr. Christopher “Kit” Winnington is living in Regency-era London, and he could use an increase of funds. Since graduating from Cambridge, he’s been working as a secretary for a nobleman (despite being a minor member of the aristocracy himself), but he hates the work, and it doesn’t pay all that well.

Kit thinks his luck is finally turning when he receives a letter from his Great Aunt Augusta’s solicitor. The (rather wealthy) lady has apparently passed away, and, before her death, she set a contest to see who would inherit Apple Tree Manor, her sprawling estate. Augusta was apparently a bird lover, and she kept a large group of ducks as pets. If Kit is able to make the ducks “happy,” he’ll inherit Apple Tree Manor and everything it entails. So Kit removes himself to the Manor to meet his competitor.

Miss Angela Stratton had been working as Augusta’s companion for some years until the lady’s sudden death from fever. Although a baronet’s daughter, she’s just as impoverished as Kit, and she really needs to win this contest so she doesn’t find herself homeless. Who will win the contest? Will they win each other’s hearts in the meantime? And how, exactly, does one keep a bunch of ducks happy, anyway?

I honestly had no idea what to expect from a romance novel that revolved around water foul. But it was definitely a sweet, romantic story, with a little bit of humor thrown in. In fact, the best part of the whole thing is the ducks. They’re characters in and of themselves, with personalities and eccentric names. Truth be told, the ducks seemed pretty happy to begin with, so I wondered in the beginning what old Augusta had up her posthumous sleeves.

Angela and Kit have good chemistry together, albeit in an uptight, reserved “we cannot be found alone together, else my reputation will be ruined” sort of way. Still, the dialogue wasn’t nearly as stuffy as I expected it to be, and while there’s a good amount of exposition (keep in mind that the book is only 97 pages long, so there isn’t much time to really flesh things out), it doesn’t get too boring. There aren’t any love scenes, but, for once, I didn’t find the book lacking for their absence. The sweet, silly story was refreshing.

My only real complaint was the villain. We only meet him once, and the meeting is brief. But, the next thing you know, the couple has foiled him, complete with the villain’s requisite “Why I did it” monologue. Banche could have incorporated the villain and his dastardly plans more, but that would have added length to the novel, and it wouldn’t be a “lunch break e-book” anymore.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book—much more than I originally thought I would. The inheritance might have been for the birds, but this book certainly isn’t!

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