Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.
In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?
FLIRTATION AND FOLLY is the first book in the series, A SEASON IN LONDON. I look forward to reading more by this new to me author. Set in Regency England during the early 1800s, there is a multitude of characters, all of who needed sorting out. What you see is not what you always get!
Marianne is sent to be a companion to a maiden aunt she’s never met with a promise of a season. She has visions of all that will entail, but the reality is a lot different. Part of it could be that she has very different ideas of what’s fashionable and gets mocked and laughed at, at every turn. We also get to meet her sickly aunt, who dabbles in medical cures, as well as some of both Marianne’s aunts’ friends.
Her younger and pretty sister, Belinda, was supposed to go to London but instead had a better offer, so she took it and left Marianne to be the one to help her aunt. We learn of their large family back in the country where their father is a rector and live in the rectory. Their mother seems to be in a weakened state and prefers to leave disciplining and raising her children to others—especially Marianne. No wonder she wants to have time to herself with a season and a chance to marry. We get to meet them through letters from their mother as well as reminisces and stories told, especially of their many siblings. We meet up with Belinda during the season and get to know her as well. Marianne’s dreams change throughout the book, and no one is more surprised than her. She always tries to do the right thing and be truthful when others aren’t, but oftentimes it backfires on her. She’s also more adventurous than she should be.
There are twists and turns to the story, along with many descriptions of the balls, the homes, and the clothing. There is anger, hurt, tears, sadness, laughter, heartache, whispers, secrets, one-upmanship, money issues, advice given and taken, servants, companions, and ultimately love on several fronts. There is some closure with the epilogue and several happily ever afters in the making.
This is Ms. Rasche’s debut novel. She paid attention to details in her writing and though there were many storylines she wove them together nicely. Her characters were multidimensional and drew me in. The title was spot on and the cover is nicely portrayed.
After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.
Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.
Wednesday, November 11
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Bookworlder
Wednesday, November 18
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Thursday, November 19
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Saturday, November 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 22
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Monday, November 23
Review at Jessica Belmont