Synopsis: Camilla, the widow of an earl, is under the thumb of her domineering sister-in-law. To escape, she moves to London where she finds it necessSynopsis: Camilla, the widow of an earl, is under the thumb of her domineering sister-in-law. To escape, she moves to London where she finds it necessary to fabricate a husband to fool her late husband's family. To play the part of her husband is her unorthodox footman, an escaped press-gang victim.
My two cents: I loved this story from the first sentence. The story opens with our hero and his best friend, a fellow shipmate. They are set upon by a press-gang, which was a rather unpleasant feature of the early 1800s in Britain. It was the middle of the war with Napoleon and many of the British were not willing volunteers of his majesty's navy due to the inhumane conditions experienced by those who enlisted. Hence, the press-gangs.
The hero Thomas and his friend Daniel escape. After collecting Daniel's wife Betsy, they enter domestic service, hoping to hide from the authorities. Thomas and Camilla do not start off with a great impression of each other as he mistakes her for a servant.
I really liked Thomas. He was strong, loyal, funny, and charming. I thought he was a well-rounded character, believable and lovable.
Camilla was a little weak but she gradually grew a spine. She seemed to rely a little too much on the sage advice of her ten-year-old daughter. I suppose this was believable behavior when one considers her life up to that point. And I have no problem with a Regency heroine who does not fit the “strong” perception of what a woman should be. It was 200 years ago, after all.
The daughter Philippa was an amusing delight but far too intelligent and wise for believability. This doesn't mean I didn't like her. It was actually hard not to. Especially after she made friends with Sybil Sturtevant.
My favorite line: Thomas, in reply to Camilla's request that he masquerade as her husband: “...there's no role in the world I'd rather play than that of your husband.”
In closing, if you are against a heroine who is meek and submissive to nearly everyone around her, avoid this book. If you just love a good star-crossed romance, try this squeaky-clean Regency tale. This book is tied to Passing Fancies which is the love story of Camilla's daughter Philippa....more
Synopsis: Lovely Lady Philippa Wyckfield gets drawn into any number of unfortunate situations due to her generous nature. Staying with friends she'd kSynopsis: Lovely Lady Philippa Wyckfield gets drawn into any number of unfortunate situations due to her generous nature. Staying with friends she'd known since childhood, she manages to catch the eye of two of the brothers. One wrestles with his disgust of her supposed madcap nature while the other wrestles with his invisibility.
What I liked: I loved the characters with their varied idiosyncrasies. There is Lady Philippa (Pippa), whose generous nature lands her in more trouble than any normal human can handle; William, the stiffly proper head of the Sturtevant household and oldest child of Lady Georgina; Lady Georgina, air-headed, well-meaning mother and lady of the house; Simon, a scientist whose head is more often cloudy with his work than not; Sybil, only daughter and incorrigible madcap; and Dolly, the youngest son whose madness for horseflesh leads to at least one of the unfortunate situations I mentioned earlier. These characters are fleshed-out rather well despite the shortness of this book. Even the Oxbroughs, the lady and her son who are more or less the antagonists of the tale, have their quirks, making them more believable.
There was something I noticed with this book that struck me as interesting. It is written in third person omniscient. Perhaps this POV was more acceptable in 1983 when this book was written. From the research I've done in regard to publishing houses, this POV is not acceptable now. However, I feel Elizabeth Mansfield pulled it off rather well. While reading, I knew what was happening in each character's head, the POV switches were graceful and hardly noticeable. Considering this book is not a mystery in any way, I see no reason why we should not know what everyone is thinking.
The story was entertaining, light and fun. Love scenes were limited to kissing and even those were few and far between. I laughed more than once and at one point I thought I might cry. All that aside, this book is a good choice if you want a delightful, light read...more
I liked this book. It held my interest which is a difficult accomplishment lately. I vaguely remember the main character, Kit Fielding, from a previouI liked this book. It held my interest which is a difficult accomplishment lately. I vaguely remember the main character, Kit Fielding, from a previous Francis book I read many years ago. (I'll have to go back and reread that one.) For this one, I liked the characters, the storyline, the climax, and the twist that, for some reason, I actually didn't see coming. ...more
In a nutshell: This is the first in Anne Perry's "William Monk" mysteries. William Monk, detective, lost his memory in a carriage accident. He tries tIn a nutshell: This is the first in Anne Perry's "William Monk" mysteries. William Monk, detective, lost his memory in a carriage accident. He tries to recover bits and pieces of his life while trying to solve the murder of Jocelin Grey, a member of the nobility. To help him in this is his partner, Evan, and Hester Latterly, formerly one of Florence Nightingale's nurses.
My opinion: I like the characters in this, but I prefer Perry's other Victorian series, featuring Charlotte & Thomas Pitt. That aside, I thought the characters were rather well developed but this story focused primarily on Monk, due to his loss of memory. That was ok with me since I didn't really care all that much for Hester anyway. She was a little too harsh for me to like her, but I thought she was well-written.
Meanwhile, I ruined this book for myself by inadvertently reading the second book first. Hence, I already knew who the killer was since he stands trial in the second book, A Dangerous Mourning. I do believe, if I hadn't already known, I would have been very surprised by the outcome, something to be desired in a mystery novel. On a historical note: I am not an "expert" on Victorian England, since I tend to focus a little more on the Regency, but what I read seemed quite accurate.
I apologize if my thoughts here seem a little haphazard. Truthfully, I started this book over a year ago and had trouble getting into it. I completely blame my mistake for this (see above), not the author.