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A Little Folly

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A witty and romantic novel of Regency love, family and appalling scandal, from a latter-day Jane Austen

When their strait-laced, domineering father, Sir Clement Carnell, dies, Valentine throws open their Devonshire estate of Pennacombe to their fashionable cousins from London and Louisa feels free at last to reject the man Sir Clement wanted her to marry.

Soon, the temptations of Regency London beckon, including the beautiful, scandalous, and very married Lady Harriet Eversholt, with whom Valentine becomes dangerously involved. Meanwhile, Louisa finds that freedom of choice is as daunting as it is exciting. Will the opportunity to indulge in a little folly lead to fulfillment—or disaster?

A Little Folly is a novel to make Jane Austen proud and Georgette Heyer envious. An acclaimed author of historical fiction, Jude Morgan weaves together the very best of Regency era writing with "refreshingly original characters, an intriguing plot, and an elegantly ironic style." (RT Book Reviews on Indiscretion). In this exciting new novel, Morgan delivers a story that, yet again, will bring cheers from critics and readers alike.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2010

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About the author

Jude Morgan

15 books169 followers
Jude Morgan was born and brought up in Peterborough on the edge of the Fens and was a student on the University of East Anglia MA Course in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

A pseudonym used by Tim Wilson.

Also wrote under the names T.R. Wilson and Hannah March.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 182 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,022 followers
December 23, 2015
This review originally appeared on my blog Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.

I don't have a good track record with Austen pastiches. And it's gotten worse as time has gone on. At first it was kind of fun to go for the "Austen, but with all the sexy bits you wished were there", but that got old fast. As did the people who basically just borrowed her world and characters as a selling point and then proceeded to write novels based on each of the minor characters that seemed to have little or nothing to do with the actual books. (Look, I love a change in perspective as much as anyone- The Affair is one of my favorite shows, and I loved Wicked like all of you when I was a pre-teen girl, but I will need it to be a bit more related to the original text so it, you know, says something about it.) Also, after the initial half-smile the concept of Austen and zombies induced in me, I was kind of over it. (Did anyone else think that whole thing was better suited to be a viral SNL sketch idea rather than a whole book? Never mind a whole series of them on the same topic. I think we pretty much get the joke by page ten- what else are you doing for the other two hundred pages to keep me reading?)

And I really didn't think that Jude Morgan was necessarily going to break my track record on this one. I'd read one book of his before, Passion, which focuses on the most famous Romantic poets and the women in their lives, and while I liked a lot of it, it was definitely uneven and I wished that it had been better. I was expecting more of the same here.

And while it wasn't a universal denial of my expectations, this was much better than I thought. My hat is absolutely off to Morgan with his handling of the narrative voice in this novel. His opening monologue and every interstital one sounded confidently Heyer or Austen-like, with the same dry wit and inisghtful observational tone that reassures the audience that we're in the hands of someone who really knows what they're doing. Some turns of phrase were truly well-crafted and made me smile- Morgan understands how to bite while maintaining a totally bland face and does it super well. That was my absolute favorite part of the novel, and it never got less good. I also really liked the idea of the plot itself that gave him a lot to work with- two children who have been ruled over by their domineering father who have been finally set free to make their own decisions, and the probable consequences of that.

I also thought that his focus was well and truly on character observation and moral decisions, which is in actuality what Austen is about, much though Hollywood would like to present you with windswept moors and Matthew McFayden and tell you otherwise. I really appreciated that Morgan understood that and understood that that's what many of his readers keep hoping to find when they get Austen comparisons thrown at them about books, and rarely do. He also drew a couple of minor characters very well- the brother and sister team of Tom and Sophie was well, amusingly and pitilessly done, and they would have fit in every Heyer novel I've ever read seamlessly.

Unfortunately, while these are accomplishments enough in themselves, they raised expectations just high enough that I found myself disappointed with several other aspects of the novel. I really think Morgan had a problem with pacing in this novel- some sections took far, far too long, and some we didn't get near enough time with. (He skips over an entire period of mourning and adjustment in favor of getting to the main plot- and while I get that, I also think we missed out on some things we should have seen. He moved his main characters on far too quickly.) I also think that pacing really affected the resolution- which again, took far too long after we discovered what the solution was going to be and then didn't provide the wrap up of the relationship that we were all looking for- he set it up that it was going to be an Emma-like chapters long thing where we would be satisfied with missing pieces, and then we never got that.

I also thought that his rather obvious remixing of Austen characters and characteristics was kind of distracting. I spent way too much time pinpointing the Darcy, the Knightley, the Lizzie, etc., and keeping a running list in my head of which characteristic was divvied up where in which character. I think he intended to use it to subconsciously trick his readers into expecting one thing, when in fact a different thing was going to happen- it was too much like a trick, and too obvious to work anyway. I guessed really early on that I was being set up- and I didn't like the sensation that I was distracted by that whole business to begin with- can we get back to putting people in uncomfortable/funny/new/interesting/mundane situations and seeing how they react again? Can we get back to discussing why and how people make decisions?

Reminds me a bit of the argument I see going on around the new Star Wars movie- how much of a direct homage is too much of a good thing? It's one thing to use the essence and the spirit of the thing- it's another thing to wear the thing's pants and copy its hairstyle to make people like you. I feel like there was a bit too much imitation rather than inspiration going on here.

That said, I really do have to admit that this is one of the most successful Austen-compared books that I've read, and again, Morgan really does understand what was absolutely genius about Austen (and Heyer, for that matter), and his ability to confidently put himself in those narrative shoes was pretty amazing. And the fact that there wasn't even one sexy midnight rendezvous at Pemberley is immensely in its favor- he's going some way to help Austen fans defend the fact that far too many people get her wrong.

I look forward to reading another one of his soon. I hear good things about Indiscretion so that's on my radar, along with An Accomplished Woman (which seems like a Persuasion homage, so I want to see where that goes). I'll see you at the next one!
Profile Image for Mela.
1,465 reviews185 followers
November 13, 2022
What can I say? It is Jude Morgan's Regency romance. If you know and like Indiscretion (my review) or An Accomplished Woman (my review) you will like it too.

The novel is witty, amusing, and enjoyable. There are plenty of funny sentences and dialogues like in the above-mentioned books and in Georgette Heyer's Regency romances.

Miss Rose in this demonstrating the peculiar talent of those who proclaim their absence of self-esteem for getting a lot of attention by pretending they never get any

I think there is a compliment there somewhere, but it is very well disguised

There are plot twists. I was really surprised a few times and for a very long time I wasn't sure how it would end up. So, it was very engaging.

And of course, there is another level of this book. More philosophic, touching human nature.

The influences of our childhood and youth cannot be underestimated, I believe: those are the experiences that shape us, far beyond their immediate power

In this Morgan's story, for example, we see how one who has been deprived of freedom for years, slowly learns what that freedom means. Not only free to choose but also to be responsible. The characters aren't one-dimensional and some of them change with time.

I really like it. I still think that Indiscretion is the best of these three books, but An Accomplished Woman and A Little Folly are right behind. And I am really sorry that Morgan hasn't written more Regency romances for now. But I hope, he will write more.
Profile Image for Tweety.
433 reviews198 followers
March 15, 2017
Very pleased with how this book went! similar to Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, but with its own style and humor as well. The characters are well drawn and realistic and there's plenty of surprises all the way.
Profile Image for Krista.
446 reviews9 followers
June 16, 2013
I spent the first several chapters of this book thinking "What's the point of reading this when I could be reading Jane Austen?"

Then something clicked. Perhaps it was Morgan's clever turns of phrase:

"She would not allow praises to go to her head:--but they might be allowed to reach as far as her eyes, which, when she saw herself reflected in the hall mirror as they left, certainly seemed uncommonly bright."

"...he lounged away in a cloud of pomade and exclamation marks."

Or perhaps his clear-eyed description of trivial human failings;

"Sophie and Tom treated her with great fondness and indulgence, reassuring themselves that she had not suffered a moment's loneliness without them, commiserating her small ailments, loading her with presents they had bought at Lyme, and generally according her every sort of attention, compatible with not really taking any notice of her."

Or his sharp tongue:

"Is he not entrancing? I could study him for hours. It is not just the stupidity--it is the thoroughness with which it is kept up. To remember all that slang, and not deviate into normal language here and there: to never say anything remotely interesting or thoughtful, even by accidental lapse--this requires a special kind of talent. I can only look on in fascination. I think the high point of the evening was when he called me a 'ninnyhammer.'"

Or his metaphoric wisdom:
"But she suspected that in many regards grown men, and women, did not grow up--that the fresh susceptibility of youth still sent its green shoots through the hard stones of experience."

Anyway, I'm hooked. Pure Regency Fun.
723 reviews306 followers
October 9, 2017
This is Jude Morgan's third novel written in the style of Jane Austen (following INDISCRETION and AN ACCOMPLISHED WOMAN). These three novels are light period pieces of social commentary on life in the 1800s. All three are beautifully written and are especially appreciated by those readers like myself who wish that Jane Austen had written many more novels in her lifetime. I must say, however, that this novel, in particular, reads as if it had been a collaborative effort of Austen and Georgette Heyer (if one of them had been able to time travel to be able to work with the other). When the setting of the novel moves from Devonshire to London, we read lovely satire of the dandies, pretentious fops with their silly slang and outrageous style of dressing and supposedly sophisticated ennui, to be found there. This is something more to be encountered in a Heyer novel than in Austen's classics.

For anyone who loves a great turn of phrase, this book (and the two other Morgan novels mentioned above) is not to be missed. This novel is one to be read slowly and savored. For example, our heroine Louisa has nothing but disdain for Pearce Lynley, the man her tyrannical father had chosen as her future husband. This is beautifully shown to us in sentences like these: "The subject was plainly an uncomfortable one for Mr. Lynley, and for that reason alone Louisa would gladly have seen it pursued; but Valentine, disappointingly, changed it." Or this comment by Louisa: "Just so: you have now enumerated all Mr. Lynley's attractions; he could hardly have done it better himself, though I am sure he would be willing to try." And I love this remark on Louisa and Valentine's fatuous cousin Tom: "Tom, once his coat-tails were properly arranged, looked as if sitting and thinking of nothing were comfortably within his range of accomplishments." The book is chock-full of such little gems of commentary and is a delight to read.
Profile Image for Jamie Collins.
1,427 reviews265 followers
December 31, 2017
A lovely Regency romance novel, something I’d particularly recommend to fans of Georgette Heyer. Most books that can be labeled “Austen-lite” are terrible, but Heyer pulled it off, and so does Morgan. This is delightfully well written.

It’s lighter than Indiscretion and more comedic. My favorite secondary character is the spinster cousin determined to be neglected and uncomfortable:

"Not that Miss Rose was any trouble: indeed, it was the very aim and desire of her life not to be so, as she was constantly asserting. An early attempt on the part of the Tresilians to acknowledge their relationship, and soften the sting of dependence by calling her Aunt, had been quite rejected by her aggressive humility."

The plot is utterly predictable, but that detracts not one whit from the pleasure of reading this. My only real quibble is the abruptness of the ending. I love the fact that the allusion to an embrace on the very last page is the most risqué scene in the book, but I wish there had been one more happy chapter wrapping everything up neatly.
Profile Image for Charlotte Brothers.
Author 7 books6 followers
March 15, 2016
I enjoyed this book immensely. Any fans of witty, slow-burning love stories like those by Austen and Heyer would agree.
Jude Morgan's handle on the times (Regency) and most importantly, the vocabulary, of the great English classics is superb. The language makes the story clever and beautiful and obviously written by a master and not a dabbler.
Profile Image for Renae.
1,013 reviews264 followers
May 15, 2016
If you like Jane Austen and/or Georgette Heyer, this is the book for you.

Personally, there was too much "homage" being paid to Austen in the form of characters, plot points, and dialogue. If I wanted to read Pride and Prejudice, I would just read it, you know?

Still a good book, though.
Profile Image for Lulu.
920 reviews20 followers
February 8, 2022
“Sir, I am trying to declare myself to a lady, and I am exceedingly ill at it, and I would be obliged if you would clear away,”

Story: 8
Writing: 9
First MC: 8
Second MC: 8
Secondary characters: 7
Mystery: 2
Sexual tension: 0
Humor: 5
Hotness: 0
Product placement:
Ridiculousness: 0
Annoying: 3
Audio: 10
To re-read: 10
Profile Image for Pamela Shropshire.
1,295 reviews55 followers
July 14, 2019
This is my first time reading Jude Morgan, although I have been aware of her work for a couple of years now. Her work is considered to be in the vein of Jane Austen, although from an historical perspective and minus the sharp social commentary that marks Austen’s novels. I would compare her more to Georgette Heyer, although without the farcical elements that Heyer employed so distinctively.

Louisa Carnell and her brother, Valentine, were raised in Devonshire by their father, following the death of their mother. Their father was a very rigid, controlling sort, scarcely letting his children out of his sight. After his sudden, unexpected death, Louisa and Valentine feel quite like the proverbial bird let loose from its cage, and they decide to “begin living,” as they put it.

The first opportunity to break free of their molds comes with a letter from their maternal cousins, Tom and Sophie Spedding, with whom their father refused to communicate or associate. Before they can carry out their plan to go up to London, Louisa receives a marriage proposal from a neighbor, Pearce Lynley. Her father had selected Mr. Lynley as a husband for Louisa, and for that reason alone, she is prejudiced against him. Moreover, Mr. Lynley is himself rather proud and rigid. I must confess that I thought Mr. Lynley was comparable to Mr. Darcy, and that Louisa would eventually realize she loved him. I was wrong!

James Tresilian and his sister, Kate, are also neighbors of the Carnells. They, too, go up to London to see the celebrations marking Bonaparte’s defeat. Valentine becomes entangled with a married woman, and Louisa is rather fascinated by Pearce Lynsey’s younger brother, Francis, formerly an army officer. Of course the main theme is who will match up with whom. While I was wrong about Louisa and Pearce Lynley, I was quite satisfied with who she eventually ended up with.
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,432 reviews543 followers
October 11, 2022
Valentine and Louisa are young, handsome, well-bred, and have a comfortable estate. After their domineering father dies, they are finally able to venture into Society. They're both reasonable successes, but Valentine's love for a scandalous married woman threatens both their positions.

I really enjoyed this. The plots and characters are a thoughtful hodge-podge of successes from Austen, particularly Emma and Northanger Abbey. Louisa is a wonderful character to follow, being both a bit unworldly but also brave, loyal, sensible, and sensitive enough that I never lost patience with her.
Profile Image for Jackie.
161 reviews
August 1, 2021
I found this an interesting introduction to a new-to-me author and am strongly inclined to search out more. The writing is very much in the Jane Austen style, and the character developement was unexpectedly good, as I was expecting something much more frivolous.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
3,001 reviews1,481 followers
November 12, 2013

Valentine and Louisa Carnell have lived under the iron thumb of their father their whole lives. Now he is dead and they decide it's time to start living their lives. Their first big act of "defiance" is to open the doors of their home to a party. Louisa dreads the idea of entertaining because it means she must invite the autocratic Pearce Lynley, the man her father wished her to marry. Louisa has no desire to marry Mr. Lynley but isn't quite sure how to stand up to him and tell him so. When their long-estranged cousins Tom and Sophie Spedding arrive with their friend Lady Harriet Eversholt, the lively cousins help Valentine and Louisa to find their way. The Carnells join their cousins and Lady Harriet in London for the peace celebrations where Valentine becomes infatuated with Lady Harriet, who happens to be married and slightly scandalous. Louisa worries about Valentine but knows she can count on her old friend and neighbor Mr. Tresilian for help. Louisa makes some new acquaintances and learns to spread her wings a little though some shadow of doubt and fear still remains. She enjoys the company of Mr. Lynley's brother, a wounded soldier. When Valentine finds himself in over his head, Louisa is determined to be the steadfast sister to the end, even if it means giving up her hopes and dreams for the future.

Jude Morgan has really mastered style that can be described as a blend of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, only the humor is far more subtle and dry as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny. Some of the characters and plot incidents come directly from Jane Austen but that isn't a bad thing. The first few chapters are really slow and much of the story is told rather than experienced, so I felt a bit of detachment from the story. The characters do not leap off the page and come to life the way that Austen and Heyer's characters do. This also kept me from being engaged in the story and really caring about the characters. I was kept guessing as to who the love interest would be. I knew who I preferred but worried that Louisa would make what I considered to be a wrong choice. The last quarter of the book is the most interesting and I had a hard time putting the book down. I recommend this book to fans of Morgan's other books, especially An Accomplished Woman and also those who love Jane Austen's Emma.
Profile Image for The Lit Bitch.
1,248 reviews390 followers
April 28, 2014
If you like Jane Austen’s novels, you will find a lot to like in this book. It’s a little bit of Emma and Pride and Prejudice mixed together in a slightly more modern cocktail. I loved the witty banter and language that Morgan used in the character dialogs, that made it more of an updated Austen type novel.

From the first chapter the singular thing that bothered me was the brother’s name–Valentine. I could never warm up to his character or feel sympathy for him simply because I didn’t care for his name. Something about it just didn’t fit the time period for me. James, George, William, Charles….anything but Valentine. Personal feelings about his name aside, he was a well designed character. Though I never warmed up to him as a reader, I can appreciate that he was everything that a reader wanted as a secondary character.

Valentine was likable, charming, and congenial. He was not quite above reproach, he had character flaws but none that were entirely unredeemable. I liked the conflict that surrounded him and found his personality fitting and worthy of that conflict. Morgan does a nice job showing his flaws and mistakes while in the end allowing him to remain honorable and worthy of our favor.

I was worried when the novel started that I wouldn’t care for Louisa. It took some time for me to love her because the into was a little slow to start. However by the end of the novel I adored her spunk and sass! I loved her whit and the way she interacted with the other characters was spot on. I never thought her character presumptuous or out of place. She was well constructed and fit in the period but was modern enough to be relatable to the modern reader.

I would have liked to have seen a little more romance with all the characters. There was the typical secret love and the outright flirtations but I really wanted to feel more tension between the main characters and their prospective love interests. That was the biggest thing wanting in the novel for me.

See my full review here
Profile Image for Susan in NC.
880 reviews
March 31, 2013
I love Jude Morgan's Regency novels - a large part of the fun for me is picking out the story elements borrowed from Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, but with the author's own delightful twist. I see this not as copying but as paying very worthy homage to the masters. When we are first introduced to Pearce Lynley, for instance, neighbor to our hero and heroine (siblings Valentine and Louisa Carnell), my first thought was "ah, here is the proud, overbearing Mr. Darcy character" - yet Morgan keeps us guessing for awhile whether he and Louisa are truly Darcy and Elizabeth, meant to find true love together, or will they find happiness elsewhere? Fun! Another neighbor and dear family friend, the dry-witted, calm, staid Mr. Tresilian reminded me of Emma's Mr. Knightley, and Morgan's portrayal of the mindless, fashion-obsessed Dandies, Pinks and Bucks encountered in London society would've done Heyer proud!

Highly recommended to fans of Regency romance/comedies of manners in the Heyer and Austen mode - delicious!
Profile Image for MAP.
511 reviews153 followers
March 23, 2021
There’s nothing revolutionary about this book - every plot thread wrapped up exactly as expected - but the characters are well written and Morgan does a better job of “Heyer light” than anyone else I’ve read. I consistently enjoy his regency books.
Profile Image for Emmy.
910 reviews146 followers
July 16, 2015
This was basically a rip-off of Emma with a little P&P thrown in. But slow, boring and no chemistry between the characters.
Profile Image for Claire.
187 reviews51 followers
June 28, 2013
Very much like Jane Austen but without the cheese factor of other authors who try to imitate her. Loved this book!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
856 reviews63 followers
November 7, 2021
Having just finished Pride and Prejudice for the 5th (?) time, it was the perfect time to grab this one off my shelf and it’s been sitting there forever. Very close to Jane Austen, even to the point of certain characters matching up with hers. I love Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels also but this was a bit closer to Austen’s writing style and wit.
Profile Image for Randy Ladenheim-Gil.
194 reviews3 followers
January 9, 2022
Almost as delightful as An Accomplished Woman. I wonder what happened to Valentine, Kate, Tom, and some of the others after the book was over, which is an accomplishment of Morgan. A sequel would be welcome!
Profile Image for SidneyKay.
621 reviews39 followers
May 3, 2013
Wot? A romance novel without spy in it!

Hey, someone pick me up from the floor. At last fellow romance readers, in A Little Folly by Jude Morgan, we have a story that isn't built around some eye-brow raising, beyond belief plot. There isn't a woman dressed as a boy trying to escape her evil aunt-mother-father-brother-guardian by hanging out at the local pub-tavern-brothel. Nope, no hare-brain scamper through the countryside for our heroine. There is no group of manly male friends who went to Cambridge, then fought in the war, became spies, got scars, signed secret papers promising never to marry, and have names like Colt, Lance, Saber, Cobra and Roderick aka Humongous Rod. Nowhere in this book is there a troublesome Mr. Toad who cannot be controlled or who forces our hero to stand behind a potted palm. If ever there was a book that could claim to be "Austen-like," it would be A Little Folly. Be warned, this is not a pretend Austen, but a legitimate claimant to the flavor that was Jane. This is a book that truly has feel of the Regency era, filled with all the wit and undercurrents of that time. It is a refreshing change from the historical romances that are painted with a broad modern brush. However, I don't believe I'd want a steady diet of a true Regency - I like a little spice in my books.

Our story is about a brother and sister, Valentine and Louisa, who have grown up under the tyrannical thumb of their father. And, I do mean tyrannical! When their father dies suddenly (a rather amusing scene) they are abruptly confronted with freedom. And it is their reaction to this unforeseen independence and all the missteps it brings which makes this a fascinating read.

One of the scenes that best exemplifies how Valentine and Louisa respond to being their own person is when they decide to get rid of their father's fireplace screen. Their struggle with this dilemma is both comical and poignant.

This book is a slow-paced, well thought out story. There isn't a rush to the end anywhere in sight; no loose end scrambling to be tied. I appreciated the liberal spattering of dry wit throughout the book. And, do be careful if you are a skip reader, because there are some hidden off the cuff remarks in this book that should be savored.

Now, be warned, this book is not for everyone. There will be those of you who will find it boring and you know who you are. If you can, right now, pick up a Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Clare Darcy, Patricia Veryan, Carola Dunn (her Regencies,) Joan Smith and still enjoy them, then you will love this book. However, if you find yourself saying "I don't get what all the hub-bub is," then this story is not for you.

I recommend A Little Folly for those of you looking for a little step backward into a world that existed a long time ago. I promise you, there is no long-winded description of clothing or any eye color changing in sight. This is a lovely, fully developed traditional Regency book.

Jude Morgan is a pseudonym for Tim Wilson, who also writes under the name of Hannah March.


This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Constellations.
100 reviews7 followers
March 4, 2020
My word!

There, I had to start off by sounding a little Regency-esq.

But truthfully, this novel was fantastic. I am an avid fan of Regency-era romances and, due to my hunger for them, will read even those which aren't the most...historically-accurate, shall we say? The Lisa Kleypas' and Julia Quinns of the Regency world. Which isn't to say I'm a snob; I enjoy those novels very much. Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers series is one of my favorites. However, I will admit: a part of my soul is always desperate for well-written, delicate, gently comedic, sartorially elegant, historically-accurate Regency romances. So far, the only two authors whom I hold in the highest regard in this aspect are Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. And honestly? I truly thought I would never again find an author similar to them.

Until A Little Folly!

Don't get me wrong --- this novel is, in no way, comparable to Austen. The language used, the social commentary offered, the plot...all of it falls more in line with Heyer. Austen undoubtedly had a mastery of the language (she having the advantage of being from the time period in which she chiefly wrote) that neither Heyer nor Morgan could ever ape. That said, Morgan's language is very, very good compared to other modern Regency writers! He does fall short of even Georgette Heyer, who undoubtedly also had an advantage by being from the twentieth century, but nonetheless: his language choice, dialogue, and slang all are well-researched and feel mostly accurate to the time period. There were no raunchy sex scenes to be found here, no modern swear words or descriptions --- no! And thank god for that. We need a little bit more subtlety and research in our Regency romances (I firmly believe, anyway...).

The plot felt reminiscent of Heyer in several ways: declarations of love made, confusions abound, a well-meaning and intelligent heroine, a true comedy of errors. Was it as funny or clever as Heyer? No...but few novels truly are. I do not count that against this novel one bit, so delighted was I in finding a new novel which gave me that Heyer-esq feeling upon reading it.

And imagine my shock when I realized that the author, Jude Morgan, is a man! Call me prejudiced if you want, but it surprised me that a man would devote the time to researching and writing a well-written Regency romance (a genre usually much maligned by men), and would actually write quite well from the viewpoint of the female mind. Louisa was no simpering ninny, nor a sultry seductress, nor a Mary Sue: she truly felt human. She was good and gentle and patient, but she was also arrogant and flawed and complacent in certain ways. I loved every bit of her.

And truly...the ultimate reason to read this novel is the wit: the clever turns of phrase Morgan uses, the witty descriptions of characters such as Miss Rose (who is absolutely determined to not enjoy a single moment of her life!), the wry descriptions of people and places... It's pure Regency fun which made me giggle time and time again. And really, isn't that the whole reason for doing it?
Profile Image for Storysworled.
56 reviews13 followers
March 2, 2016
A sweet and gentle examination of a brother and sister who decide to undertake the enterprise of living upon the demise of their harsh and tyrannical father. Such an overbearing and omniscient influence as that of the late Mr. Carnell is not so easily shaken off though, and thus it is that Valentine and Louisa find themselves indulging in a little folly, now that they have the freedom to do so.

This book wasn't the charming read that Indiscretion was but nonetheless it was engaging even as it was frustrating. Frustrating because you want the siblings to know better and do better: you feel like Louisa should be a bit firmer with her older brother when she notices him being imprudent, or you want Valentine to throw her a word of caution when she is being a bit indiscreet, but their relationship is so firmly based on not acting with each other like their father that censuring each other's conducts is something they are simply incapable of doing.

Thankfully there is ever reliable, and long-time friend to the young Carnells, James Tresilian around to keep a watchful eye. His wry sense of humour, his dedication to his sister, his patience with Valentine and his equation with Lousia are what kept me turning the page perhaps. Equally interesting was the unexpected character development of Pearce Lynley, the man Louisa's father decided would be her husband, which meant that ofcourse in her eyes he would be no such thing. After being compared so much to Georgette Heyer, Jude's depiction of Tom, a cousin of the Carnells, and his apparently up-to-the-snuff friend, The Top, provides some winking humour as the author makes fun of all those slang-spouting, capital fellows in Regencies that make an art of obscuring any meaning that may be derived from their conversation.

After an encounter with Colonel Eversholt, estranged husband to the defiant and lonely Lady Harriet, Valentine declares that "He is everything one supposed. It is almost satisfying" by which he means that the man is just the monster he assumed he would be. Louisa's uncertainty, if not the scene itself, tells you how blind Valentine has become in his sympathy for Lady Harriet. But less obvious is the fact that Louisa herself is quite an unreliable narrator - we often see people coloured through her filter and she always sees her own actions as irreproachable where others would consider them ill-advised. Jude Morgan commendably portrays how in trying to cast off influences that have been imposed on you your whole life you sometimes end up being very influenced after all.
Profile Image for Lisa.
272 reviews2 followers
July 3, 2013
Having enjoyed two previous novels by Jude Morgan: An Accomplished Woman and Indiscretion, I grabbed this from the new books shelf at the library the other day to savor over the weekend. It was a pleasant reading journey, but not as dynamic as the other two stories. A Little Folly centers around Louisa Carnell and her brother Valentine who have been strictly brought up by an autocratic father in the Devonshire countryside. At his death, they make a promise to live life to the fullest; they begin by inviting their cousins to a house party, but they bring along an uninvited guest - a somewhat aloof woman who is separated from her husband. Soon, the cousins return the favor and invite the Carnells to London. There, of course, as sheltered country bumpkins, they encounter social danger. The story was a little too light; the danger a little too soft; the characters a little too thin. I felt that Louisa was the only character who was well drawn and showed a strong sense of self. The resolution to the story was a little surprising, so I skimmed the book again to look for clues; i just wish they had been more strongly suggested the first time around.
Profile Image for Gabriela.
373 reviews27 followers
January 12, 2016
Me encantó. Uno puede reconocer la clara influencia de Jane Austen, sin embargo, la historia no es una imitiación o copia sino un buen homenaje. La novela está escrita con el lenguaje de la época, lo que nos recuerda aún más a Austen. A pesar de ello, hay momentos en los que se percibe que el autor es crítico y consciente de los valores de la época.

No soy una experta en Inglaterra de la época pero sentí que el lenguaje, costumbres sociales y valores eran adecuados.

Se suele recordar el romance en las novelas de Austen y se presta poca atención a la representación de su sociedad y de las contradicciones y ridiculez de la naturaleza humana. En este caso, la sociedad como una restricción y oportunidad está en primer plano.

Los personajes son interesantes, sin embargo, la mayoría de ellos no cambia, solo se descubre que lo que sabiamos era parcial. Louisa es a la que conocemos más pero suele ser por descripción del autor y no por su comportamiento.

La declaración de amor final no es una sorpresa total, el autor nos va llevando de la mano hacia esa escena, la cual está muy bien hecha y me hizo sonreir. Definitivamente leeré más novelas del autor.
Profile Image for Lady Salford.
155 reviews28 followers
April 24, 2010
The story centers mostly around a brother and sister, who have lived a rather secluded life because of their strict father. Following his death, they start to live and try to do what they want and leave off the influence of their late father. A tumultuous adventure where they adjust to having independence of thought and not lose their reputation in the process by engaging in a little bit of folly.

The heroine's love interest was the main draw for me in this story. His wry humourous wit quickly endeared me to him. The development of another male character throughout the events of the novel reminded me of Darcy's character development. How a man can change and follow his heart.

The ending was heartwarming and quite satisfying. I hope Jude Morgan releases more Regency novels in the coming years.
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 15 books40 followers
April 8, 2011
I loved Jude Morgan's novels Passion and A Taste of Sorrow, based on famous literary lives (the Shelley-Byron circle, the Brontes.) A Little Folly is fiction of a much lighter kind: Regency romance, pitched somewhere between Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I must admit it isn't a genre I particularly care for, and I nearly gave up midway. But by the end, the quality of Morgan's writing won me over. He is a multi-genre author who has published under three names, and it seems he has something for everyone.
Profile Image for Shahd Thani.
268 reviews22 followers
June 6, 2017
Absolutely beyond beautiful. The language, the insight, the way the writer handled complexities. Utterly breathtaking. the kind of book u close with a sigh and hug before letting it go.
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