25/08/2006

Rebel Heiress (by Jane Aiken Hodge)

I always enjoy Jane Aiken Hodge's historical novels. As well-researched and readable as Georgette Heyer's, they usually include a bit of intrigue and more serious historical context. On the other hand, they don't have quite the brilliant characterisation or humour that makes Heyer my favourite historical author.

Still, 'Rebel Heiress' was an enjoyable book. I had read it only four years previously but had forgotten the plot and outcome. In outline: Henrietta, an American girl, brought up by her strict aunt, learns something unexpected about her British father, and sets sail to visit him when her aunt dies. Her trip coincides with threats of war between the USA and UK, in the time of Napoleon.

Once in the UK, she makes friends, and also meets those who would take advantage of her. She falls in love - naturally - and receives several proposals of marriage. Her frank open manner offends some and charms others. Conversation is believable, situations perhaps a little fraught with coincidence, but still the story reads well.

I felt there were a few subplots that never really came to fruition, but they didn't spoil the book, just slightly surprised me. The ending was also perhaps a bit sudden with events coming to a head (mainly after explanations, rather than action). But, even so, I liked reading the book and hope to enjoy it again in another four or five years. Recommended for anyone who enjoys light historical novels.

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