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December 31, 2011 / leuce7

Cannonball Read III Review #8 – The Stanbroke Girls

The Stanbroke Girls by Fiona Hill

I was looking for info on this book and read Amazon review that described this book as poking fun at Regency novels while still doing justice to the genre, and that this book was a twist on Pride and Prejudice.  It’s not a bad description, though I personally wouldn’t go so far as to characterize the book that way.  But like I mentioned in the review I wrote for another Fiona Hill book, my favorite feature of her writing is her tongue-in-cheek narration, which I suppose is the equivalent at poking fun at Regency tropes while still doing justice to the genre.

I think the comparison to Pride and Prejudice is a little stretchy, however, although there are similar elements, but some are common to most, if not all Regency novels, and others share only a superficial likeness.  The Stanbroke girls are sisters, Lady Elizabeth (okay, maybe a definite nod to Lizzie Bennet) and Lady Isabella, who along with their friend Amy, all come out this Season and so, of course, are all looking for husbands.  The eligible Lord Marchmont, Earl, has finally agreed to look for a bride, mostly to make sure his rakish cousin, Jeffrey de Guerre (the equivalent to Wickham) doesn’t inherit.  Jeffrey, however, finds prey in the form of Lady Isabella (probably the equivalent to Lydia) and sets to her wooing (or ruination, depending on who you’re asking).

The reason I say this isn’t a Pride and Prejudice knockoff or twist, though, is because P&P was really about Lizzie and Darcy, their misunderstandings and the growth of their characters and relationship.  The Stanbroke Girls, while using the same sort of plot device (the potentially ruinous elopement) is more of a farce than a character study.  There’s a cast of multiple characters here, none of whom is really the focus to the exclusion or minimization of any others, and it’s the action that propels the story, not the character growth (unlike the other Hill novel I reviewed, The Country Gentleman).  But it’s still a fun read and enjoyable read, and Hill’s gift of characterization, even when not used at full force here, is still enough to get me to root for all the characters to end well, even the silly elopers.


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