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The Stanbroke Girls (1981)

de Fiona Hill

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The eligible but aloof Lord Marchmont seems as determined to remain single as his sister, Lady Emilia, is to see him wed. They are surrounded by a glimmering cast of characters, from the unreliable but dashing rake Jeffery de Guere to the lovely and shy Miss Amy Lewis. And, of course, the Stanbroke girls: Lady Isabella, romantic and dreamy, yet surprisingly practical, and Lady Elizabeth, her older sister, a heroine of great sense and wit as well as beauty. As these characters dance, court, conspire, love, and chase their way through some of the most fashionable spots of England and the continent, we join their elegant circle for the sparkling, sophisticated romp. As always, Fiona Hill brings a fresh and engaging liveliness to the world of Regency manners, making The Stanbroke Girls a triumphant delight to read.… (més)
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Witty Elizabeth and her younger, melodramatic sister Isabella Stanbroke have finally Come Out into regency England Society. Meanwhile, the Earl of Marchmont is being forced by his sensible spinster sister Emilia to find a wife and sire an heir before the year is out. His experiences in the army, and the mockery of his first love, make him wary, but Elizabeth's clever comebacks intrigue him. But the course of true love ne'er did run smooth. The Earl's current heir, the duplicitous rake Jeffery de Guere, decides to make trouble by seducing Isabella. And meanwhile, the Stanbroke girls' best friend is deeply in love with their older brother, and makes herself miserable about it.

And yet somehow, all of these romances add up to very little. The author flits from one couple to the next, never spending long enough with any one character. By the end of the book, I knew exactly as much about each character as I did within the first couple pages of their introduction. I didn't care at all about what happened to these cardboard cut-outs.

I'm tired of regencies that are just Austen novels mashed together, but without any of the scathing critiques of society or relatable characters that make Austen's novels so great. Blegh. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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"But my dear Jemmy," Lady Emilia burst out in exasperation, "if you had no intention of accepting invitations this season you might as well have stayed in Sussex."
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The eligible but aloof Lord Marchmont seems as determined to remain single as his sister, Lady Emilia, is to see him wed. They are surrounded by a glimmering cast of characters, from the unreliable but dashing rake Jeffery de Guere to the lovely and shy Miss Amy Lewis. And, of course, the Stanbroke girls: Lady Isabella, romantic and dreamy, yet surprisingly practical, and Lady Elizabeth, her older sister, a heroine of great sense and wit as well as beauty. As these characters dance, court, conspire, love, and chase their way through some of the most fashionable spots of England and the continent, we join their elegant circle for the sparkling, sophisticated romp. As always, Fiona Hill brings a fresh and engaging liveliness to the world of Regency manners, making The Stanbroke Girls a triumphant delight to read.

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