The Wood Nymph

By: Mary Balogh

Dear Reader,

Between 1985 and 1998, I wrote more than thirty Signet Regency romances, most of which have long been out of print. Many of you have been asking me about them and hunting for them, and, in some cases, paying high prices for second-hand copies to complete your collections of my books. I have been touched by your interest. I am delighted that these books are going to be available as e-books with lovely new covers and very affordable prices.

If you have read any of my more recent books, the Bedwyn saga, the Simply quartet, theHuxtable series, the Survivors’ Club series, for example, you may wish to discover if my writing has changed in the course of the past 30 years or if my view of life and love and romance remains essentially the same. Whatever you decide, I do hope you will enjoy being able to read these books at last.

“Balogh is today’s superstar heir to the marvelous legacy of Georgette Heyer (except a lot steamier)!” –New York Times Bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips

“With her brilliant, beautiful and emotionally intense writing Mary Balogh sets the gold standard in historical romance.” –New York Times Bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz

“When it comes to historical romance, Mary Balogh is one of my favorites!”— New York Times Bestselling author Eloisa James

“One of the best!” –New York Times Bestselling author Julia Quinn

“Mary Balogh has the gift of making a relationship seem utterly real and utterly compelling.” –New York Times Bestselling author Mary Jo Putney

“Winning, witty, and engaging…fulfilled all of my romantic fantasies.” –New York TimesBestselling author Teresa Medeiros


July and August


“Do stand still, Melissa,” the Countess of Claymore said to her daughter. “Your ribbons are not tied properly in front. The bow is decidedly crooked.”

“Whatever I do with it, Mama,” the girl complained, “it is still askew just a few minutes later. I do believe Miss James was at fault when she made the dress. I wish we did not have to rely on rustic dressmakers. We are never fashionable.”

“I do think Papa could take us to Harrogate occasionally,” Lady Emily Wade agreed. “Surely twice a year would not be beyond our means, Mama. We have been stuck in the country here forever, and never meet anyone even remotely distinguished.”

“There is nothing wrong with Miss James’s workmanship,” the countess said firmly. “It is merely that the ribbon has been tied wrongly, Melissa. Stand still and I shall retie it for you.”

“Papa said that Mr. Mainwaring is very fashionable,” Melissa said. “Perhaps he really will be, Emmy. Perhaps he will also be young and handsome. Papa said he is young, of course, but that could mean any age below fifty.”

“I would not raise your hopes too high, Melly,” her sister warned. “Have you ever known anyone both young and handsome to settle in this neighborhood?” “No,” Melissa agreed, “but that does not mean that one never will. We know that he is very rich, at least.

He owns Graystone and Papa says that he owns a great deal of property in Scotland and the south of England as well. I think it would be most appropriate if he also turns out to be handsome.”

“You are too romantic by half,” Emily said scornfully. “If he is eligible, Melly, it is fitting that we should meet him. After all, we owe it to our positions in society to make suitable marriages before much more time has elapsed. And if Papa will not take us to a place of fashion, we shall have to make the most of what we have here.”

“I have asked and asked Papa to take us all to London for a Season,” the countess assured her daughters, “or to Harrogate at the very least. But he cannot take his horses and his dogs to London, you see, and you all know that hunting is the breath of life to your father.” “Mr. Mainwaring really is coming this afternoon, Mama, is he not?” Melissa asked anxiously. “Papa was quite definite about it?”

“Oh, yes,” her mother said. “He has been in residence at Graystone for several days, you know, and has been called upon by most of our neighbors. Papa was the first to call, of course. It is time Mr. Mainwaring returned the calls, and he did assure Papa that he would wait upon us this afternoon. I really am most anxious to make his acquaintance, though I feel quite vexed that he has waited all these years to visit his property. We see little enough of good company as it is without a perfectly good estate remaining unoccupied by its master for several years.”