Saturday, December 30, 2006


[ Not for any challenge; just an ordinary review]

Title: Indiscretion (cover image from The Christian Science Monitor)

Author: Jude Morgan

Copyright: 2005

Length: 379 pages

Genre: Romance

Summary: Caroline Fortune is the only daughter of a ne'er-do-well father. Her mother's family disowned her mother for marrying the soldier she loved and the future for Caroline looks bleak. Her father is an inept gambler and is unable to support her; the options for making her own way in the world are limited. But Caroline goes initially as companion to the wealthy Mrs. Catling, the widow of her father's former Colonel, and the consequences of that brave initiative form the basis of all that follows, good and bad. There is a bit of Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Pride and Prejudice in this Austen-esque romance novel. Yet these are not cardboard cutouts of Austen's characters nor is the plot a thinly veiled version of any of Austen's works. In fact, the novel was not nearly as predictable as one might anticipate under these circumstances. The sentence structure, the vocabulary, the wit remind one of Austen in much the way that a light whiff of cinammon provides a reminder of the very best cobbler or pie from one's childhood.

Book World included an excerpt in her review of this book, but I will include a brief example of the humor that permeates the narrative.

"Parties? Oh -- as to that Miss Fanny, I am a dull fellow for parties in any event,' Captain Brunton said; occasioning in Caroline a brief mental review, to see if there were any news that had ever surprised her less."

Now there's a swipe that reminds me of Jane Austen.

Also Relevant: Because I learned of this book in a review appearing in the Christian Science Monitor (December 12, 2006), I assumed that it was a new hardcover just appearing in stores. "Ah," I thought, "I'll be reviewing something entirely new to the biblioblogosphere!" Imagine then my momentary chagrin when I discovered that the book had been released in paperback in 2005 and others were well ahead of me. See the UK news story about the author from February of 2006 as well as the review published by Book World above. Jude Morgan is really Tim Wilson, a 43-year-old tutor at the Peterborough College of Adult Education with a wife and child. Tutoring is only a sideline. He writes full time and Indiscretion is his 26th published novel.

The pacing is pleasant and leisurely. There are the correct number of characters to carry the story forward, each introduced naturally. None of the plot twists were predictable and yet each was entirely plausible. You have to read closely to properly enjoy the humor and yet the whole is as fun and as bubbly as a glass of champagne.

I might have preferred to buy this in trade paperback, but I'm not sorry I bought it. More of our light entertainment reading should be this well-executed.

By the way, if you enjoy humor in your Regency period tales and don't object to magic as an element of the story, you might also try Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. Different authors, but deftly told.