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An Accomplished Woman

Jude Morgan has written many historical novels, but An Accomplished Woman is the first one I came across, and I found it well written, clever and very entertaining–true, powerfully reminiscent of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and indeed the plot is a sort of mash up of Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and any number of Heyer regency frivolities, but nonetheless–robust and well made.

That Jude Morgan is a woman seemed obvious, given the plot, style, and emphasis on clothing and other ephemera. However, not so. He is an Englishman, living in Peterborough.

He takes our heroine through a series of adventures that eventually teach her, you know, her own heart. And jolly good fun getting there, too, with all the traditional accoutrements of the genre. He is also genuinely funny, with characters that remind us strongly of Mr. Collins, Lady De Burgh and –and here,a sort of nouveau Mrs. Elton:

“There she was, very fine, very sweeping in silk pelisse and feathered hat, strolling the Pump Room like a queen amongst subjects, and on her arm a consort — an abbreviated man with more neckcloth than neck, a square head like a box, and small features like holes in it. They were spotted: Mrs. Vawser and her appendage bore swiftly down on them. There was no possible escape, short of climbing onto the window-sill behind them and plunging into the King’s Bath below — a possibility Lydia saw flicker vividly across Lewis Durrant’s face before he surrendered to the inevitable.”

There is plenty of story, and I often found myself excessively diverted. Chuckling aloud, even! And eventually the obdurate Lydia understands how foolish she has been (the story has strong Emma resonances) and is reconciled with the tall, handsome and witty hero. My favorite ending: Jack shall have Jill and naught shall go ill. AND plenty of entertainment of the way there.

I am pleased to see that Mr. Morgan has written MANY other books. Perhaps more the sort of thing you get from the library or put on the Kindle than buy for the house (we are reaching serious shelf impactment over here) but nonetheless, a treasure of potential entertainment to cherish.
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