Title: An Accomplished Woman
Author: Jude Morgan
Genre: Fiction – Regency
Publication Date: 2007
Purchase Price: $24.95 (hardback)
Ten years after scandalizing local society by refusing to marry the eligible Lewis Durrant, Miss Lydia Templeton, bluestocking and incurably opinionated near-spinster, finds herself in Bath, England. It is her job to act as chaperone to her friend’s ward, a young girl who has managed to fall in love with two very different men.
As Lydia tries to guide her young friend wisely, she must walk the line between chaperone and friend, practical and romantic. But things begin to unravel when the girl can’t choose between her two lovers, and when Lydia gains some unwanted attention. And then Durrant appears in town, promising to find himself a wife.
All Lydia wants to do is return home, but it seems that the fates have something entirely different in mind.
Austen times ten
I received An Accomplished Woman as a Christmas present, but was a bit hesitant to start it, mainly because it’s really easy to screw up Regency novels, and I hate reading crappy imitations of Jane Austen novels. Fortunately, though, I enjoyed it.
This book is what I wish Persuasion had been. The characters felt real, and there wasn’t nearly as much introspective whiny stuff (not to say there wasn’t any).
An Accomplished Woman feels like a novel that was written by a Jane Austen who has no filter. Some of the racier things that Lydia and several others say were probably thought in Austen’s real time, and might have even been said aloud depending on who was listening, and it was nice to see those things in print.
Lydia is a great character. She is well read, opinionated, and is nearing the age of spinsterhood (thirty, egads!). She sees the constraints of her society on women and hates them. She’s sharp-tongued and hot-tempered, and I loved seeing her interactions with Lewis Durrant — their every conversation was like verbal swordplay, which I happen to find very sexy.
Short and sweet
I was a bit surprised to discover that Jude Morgan is in fact a nom de plume for author Tim Wilson. He doesn’t have a website, and online information about him is pretty scarce, but he’s a great author no matter what name he writes under.
If you’re at all into Regency novels, definitely check out An Accomplished Woman, or any other of Jude Morgan’s writings. I probably will too.
“ ‘Stupidity is not a necessary part of youth: though it does tend to thrive there, like a fungus in a cellar.’ “ (p. 86)
“ ‘But above all it was the sheer force of society — of what was expected of me. There is no greater tyranny, Miss Rae, than convention.’ “ (p. 131)
“ ‘And I really had no notion I was so formidable. I gave up wearing snakes in my hair and carrying a spear when the master of ceremonies pointed out that they were inappropriate for formal evenings, and I have got quite out of practice at curses and hexes. You must have formed your conclusion about me on quite other evidence.’ “ (p. 220-221)
What do you think about period novels? Does anyone else find the “Beatrice and Benedick” syndrome to be totally sexy?