Bethany House, Sep 2004, 12.99 (trade), 320 pp.
Eighteen years old Abigail Aldridge feels she must help those less fortune than herself, though her wealthy American expatriate family has become part of London's high society in the year 1814. Abigail sneaks out with her cousin at night to tend to the needs of the residents of the Soho slums when Reverend Derrick Ames finds her wandering the dangerous alleys. While her cousin flees for home, Derrick and his friends escort Abigail to the Soho Square Church. When a raid of the church occurs, Abigail is arrested and taken to Newgate along with others.
Her parents use their contacts, influence and affluence to gain her release. However, the subsequent scandal forces Abigail to return to the United States. Though stunned by the reactions of the Ton to her good intentions, Abigail plans to continue her efforts to help the poor chaperoned by the Countess Lillian Houghton, who seeks solace from her own woes.
INNOCENT LIBERTINE is a vivid early nineteenth century character study that looks deeply into two women (more so Abigail than Lillian) as they adapt to new lives trying to tend to the poor. Abigail and Lillian have learned what paves the road to hell (or at least “colonial” exile), but both courageously move on with hopes of helping the impoverished.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner