Jane Austen discussion

32 views
A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde > Ch. 12 thru Ch. 23

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
A few notes from this section: Honoria and Rosalind begin to investigate the death. Rosalind starts "working" her contacts in society circles for information. Rosalind has a meeting with Harkness and she arranges for Sanderson Faulks to take Harkness inside White's gentlemen's club to see if the betting book exists. Rosalind fends off the strong concerns of the lady patronesses about publicity of this matter. Lady Jersey's personal secretary Whelks agrees that he and Rosalind will privately handle anything that looks like a public relations eruption.


message 2: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 258 comments Ooo, I liked Sanderson as a character too. He was kind of Georgette Heyer-esque, wasn't he?

It's interesting to me that Darcie Wilde resisted making Rosalind another Emma or Grand Sophy. I wonder if that will be the end goal for her character growth over the series.

Did I mention how much I liked Harkness?

Honoria seems to be an interesting character. When I reached this stage of the book I was very curious to know where all her anger and bitterness came from.


message 3: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 480 comments I like Honoria as a person (would like to know her) but don’t entirely believe her as a character. Not entirely sure why—perhaps because I don’t know enough about her backstory to understand what motivates her behaviors?

One of the things I like about Rosalind is that she seems to be attracted to intelligence. I see it in the people she finds appealing: Harkness, Faulks, the Littlefields. A few of the other characters don’t come alive as much for me; they seem more like stock figures: Lord and Lady Blanchard, Honoria’s mother, even the Duke.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 169 comments I thought a big part of Honoria's anger/bitterness was rooted in her mother's expectations for her.

I finished the book a while ago so I hope my memory is not failing me here.

I also saw in Honoria a resentment of the restrictive roles or restrictions she is forced to conform to, particularly as enforced by her mother. Her mother was very inflexible and didn't seem to really care for Honoria in any way except as a tool to further her own social ambitions.


message 5: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
I am finding most of the characters interesting in this story. Each scene that focuses on a particular character has captured my interest. I am interested in the Honoria character too..we will have to discuss in the ending chapter when we get there....because she has a background and she seems to be aiming toward a future, if that makes sense. I think that a character in a series that seems to be sticking around must at least have that in the first volume.

I think she is such a part of the social set that she is being smothered and she seems like too independent for that. I think that Lady Edmund has controlled both her children to extremes to this point -- especially their marriage prospects. So Honoria represents the girl who has NOT been cast out of the upper set because is experiencing the worst of that world. Lady Edmund, it was said, had rushed her daughter to Switzerland to avoid a match she did not approve of. So a lot of control is going on here.

I am glad Harkness has the buildup that he has so far. Also glad he is not the more common "smoldering" "unlikely" hero. There have been some good smoldering men in fiction, but this is a nice change!

Another thing that I think helps propel this *mystery story with a female detective*: the male characters have viewpoints and scenes of their own. I think this adds much more dimension to the story. So glad! And, speaking of Sanderson, this allows him to cast some doubt about Casselmain not behaving nobly to Rosalind and this gives a nice twist to the story.

I agree, Abigail -- L and L Blanchard have not made as much of a mark here in the story.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ I'm finding Rosalind herself a little flat so far.


message 7: by Megan (new)

Megan I dislike Lady Edmund - a lot. I think the story captures that women in that time had zero options outside of "a good match" and how confining and scary that was.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Megan wrote: "I dislike Lady Edmund - a lot. I think the story captures that women in that time had zero options outside of "a good match" and how confining and scary that was."

Yes, a lot of why I'm not seeing much personality in Rosalind is she has to suppress it while she carefully picks her way through life.


message 9: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 600 comments I began to like Honoraia as the story went on. Her mother is so awful and selfish. Honoria was the only one close to her brother and he tried to help her and somehow ended up dead.

I also found Rosalind a little flat. Her story takes awhile to get going.


message 10: by Megan (last edited Oct 14, 2016 10:18AM) (new)

Megan Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ wrote: "Megan wrote: "I dislike Lady Edmund - a lot. I think the story captures that women in that time had zero options outside of "a good match" and how confining and scary that was."

Yes, a lot of why ..."


EXACTLY!

I find the depiction of the female characters' lives a bit depressing. SO many rules, class distinctions, "proper" behavior - and then they try to manipulate all that in an effort to gain some control over their lives.


message 11: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 480 comments Very true, Megan! An eloquent argument for women’s equality.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ I have finished this book. I want to hold on to for another week, but after that if a member of this group in New Zealand only would like this book I will post it to them. No takers by the end of October I have a Heyer/Austen loving friend who I think would really enjoy this book.


message 13: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
We are left feeling that Rosalind's current "station" in life was only acceptable to the more socially influential ladies because they reserved the chance that Rosalind could do something for them -- like win favors and manipulate the machine a little bit...the "machine" being Almack's. It makes me wonder how more "average" women and girls felt about Rosalind -- other women like the lesser gentility of the women Austen wrote about -- because Austen's characters have to navigate the system too, and keep their respectability, even though they are not trying to get into Almack's. Think of all of the Austen novel families who are trying to keep within the system with reduced funds (debts, disinheritance, etc.) and a lesser status in society - the Dashwoods, Fanny Price, the Elliots (well, Anne anyway), Jane Fairfax, Mrs. Smith, and more. Rosalind seems to be very much in their same shoes. Yes, Megan and Abigail, good points -- how independent and how much "employment" could a gentle woman really do without being shunned? How much did other genteel women secretly respect women who displayed independence.

To me, rather than romances, Austen's novels are truly about recognizing and gaining at least some bit of independence. Even the most recognized Austen story -- Elizabeth and Darcy -- Elizabeth would never have seriously entertained a relationship with man of Darcy's wealth and status, if she had not had an independent mindset toward the tiers of social status. Thoughts?


message 14: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 480 comments I agree, SarahC—I tend to describe the heroines’ central question as “How can I find a place in the world while maintaining my integrity?” and often the minor characters are examples of finding that place without maintaining integrity (Charlotte Lucas to a degree, Mrs. Elton, Maria Rushworth, etc.).


message 15: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 600 comments Abigail wrote: "I agree, SarahC—I tend to describe the heroines’ central question as “How can I find a place in the world while maintaining my integrity?” and often the minor characters are examples of finding tha..."

This is true and becomes a question Rosalind has to answer by the end of the book. She feels a bit too modern for the period compared to Austen's women but not as modern as Alice, who I kept thinking was Edwardian. Hopefully in future books we will see Rosalind interact with ladies who are not of the beau monde/haut ton.


message 16: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen | 37 comments These chapters start to show more and more of the intrigue that is happening behind the scenes. You also get a look at the motives of the characters. The introduction of Mr. Harkness' character adds depth to the story. Honoria. did take me by surprise. The change that is happening in her character I knew that she had a brashness.to her character that but doesn't always follow that she would be brave. She has to be brave to do and say what she has said. The mystery is really heating up now and there is more action which makes the story even more intriguing.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ wrote: "I have finished this book. I want to hold on to for another week, but after that if a member of this group in New Zealand only would like this book I will post it to them. No takers by the end of O..."

Sorry offer has closed early. My Austen/Heyer loving friend is dying to read this, so I'll be posting tomorrow. I seem to be the only active Kiwi in this group anyway. :)


message 18: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Oct 23, 2016 02:30PM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Gretchen wrote: "These chapters start to show more and more of the intrigue that is happening behind the scenes. You also get a look at the motives of the characters. The introduction of Mr. Harkness' character add..."

We know up front that Honoria is a troubled character and has to deal with the control of her mother and society. What she has professed already and her willingness to join with Rosalind to find out the circumstances of her brother's death make her a standout character.


message 19: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 600 comments SarahC wrote: "We know up front that Honoria is a troubled character and has to deal with the control of her mother and society. What she has professed already and her willingness to join with Rosalind to find out the circumstances of her brother's death make her a standout character. "

Yes, I really liked her once her character was introduced more in-depth and her motivations revealed. She shows how difficult it was to be an unmarried young woman at that time with parents who had a goal in mind and not the best interests of their children. I felt really bad for Honoria that her only ally was killed off and so quickly. I hope she and Rosalind can become friends.


back to top