I dip into historical romances sometimes as I enjoy reading about the past, the way people lived, the contrast to todays world. I’ve enjoyed a few of Jane’s novels and this sounded fun, a little drama along with a romance.
Its a gentle story, I enjoyed the way it played out, and the subtle drama that reflected so well the time period. I did find it hard to really get to know the characters, and to “feel” them but of course the time period means they kept the faces very bland, their emotions tucked away and that’s reflected in this story. Makes it very time accurate but hard for me to understand how the characters feel.
I found Susan to be a bit judgemental at first, but she grew on me, and it was clear Alethea was the favoured sister, the one considered beautiful and she was very much indulged. In contrast poor Susan takes second place, and though she adores Alethea she’s very much dominated by her, even if it is done in a way that’s not openly bullying, but subtle pushes and put downs.
I don’t get the feeling Alethea intends to be unkind, its just the way the family structure plays out, and they way the sisters take their allotted places.
Henry, yep, he was a typical lad-about-town at first and he and Susan are like oil and water, she thinks he’s reckless and selfish, he thinks she’s a prig and judgemental. In a way they are both right but when Henry is home injured and they get to know each other better a real attraction grows. Its slow, and gentle as reflects how Gentlemen and Ladies treated emotions and Love at that time.
Its a disaster though – he’s promised to her sister, a match made at birth and one both families have long accepted. They’ve been waiting for Henry to actually man up and get engaged, and he has been putting it off, living life up with his friends, enjoying life as a bachelor. Now though he can’t face losing Susan but she won’t let down her sister – what are they to do?
It works out well, very true the the actions of the Gentry in that period, but it lacked for me the appeal of some of Jane’s other historical stories. Its one of those that is a fun read, but forgettable, and not one I’d reread.
Stars: Three, a decent read but not one I’d reread.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher