Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Indiscretion by Jude Morgan

I have been shockingly remiss in my reading and reviewing habits this month but to finish on a good note, here is a fresh review.
Indiscretion tells the story of young Caroline Fortune, a streetwise twenty year old daughter of a retired solider. Brought up without a mother's guidance or a steady home thanks to her father's habit of following schemes that leave them penniless and in debt. When he tells her he has truly lost everything, Caroline becomes the companion to a cruel and selfish old widow for employment.
Though it has themes of female dependency and gender relations that were so marked in the 19th century, Indiscretion is slightly fluffy reading (well compared with my usual literary diet), but not in a bad way. Though there is certainly some satirical wit at play, it's not to the level of Jane Austen. Perhaps that is because of the difference in time, Morgan was writing a historical novel, and Austen was writing about the way life was in her present day, not the way it was in the past. Still, all the characters are interesting and well drawn- Caroline is a delight with a sharp tongue and strong sense of self. Of course there is going to be romance. Morgan throws a red herring romantic possibility early on, but when the real romantic plot begins it is hard to miss. There are some surprising twists in the story, but it ends happily and in a way that anyone who grows to care for Caroline can approve.
Overall: a good summer read that cannot help but be compared to the prose of Jane Austen. In spite of the fact that the title makes it sound a bit like a trashy romance novel, it is actually quite sedate. I look forward to reading more of Morgan's work.

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