An Accomplished Woman - Jude Morgan

Interesting and very well-written, but drags in places, especially in the first part of the book.  Less than the sum of its parts, unfortunately. 

 

A few things bothered me throughout the story: 

 

Lydia Templeton and Lewis Durrant are the main characters and are supposed to be crazy in love with each other, and have been so for 10 years. But Lydia turned down Lewis' offer of marriage nine years ago and ever since has pretended outwardly and to herself that she doesn't care about him. Well, no, romantic love doesn't work like that, and if it did, the human race would die out pretty quickly. There is a HUGE, unrealistic deficit of lust on the part of the heroine in this story!  (The book is written entirely from Lydia's POV, so I can't say if there is a similar deficit of lust on the part of the hero.)

 

Phoebe Rae is the young lady Lydia is supposed to chaperone on a visit to Bath. Phoebe is a beautiful heiress who has decided that she is equally in love with two young men, who initially both appear to be in love with her as well. Well, no, romantic love doesn't work like that - I've NEVER heard of a woman being equally in love/lust with two men simultaneously! Just couldn't get over my disbelief there.

 

Finally, there is a rather nasty thread running throughout the book of middle-aged women who are absolutely dreadful characters. Even Lady Eastmond, who is Phoebe's guardian and is supposed to be a sympathetic character, is rather manipulative, at least with Lydia, and she has the most tedious conversational style imaginable, which the author portrays at excruciating length. But Mrs. Vawser and Mrs. Allardyce are major characters in the story, and they are both horrible. And there aren't any sympathetic, normal middle-aged women in the story to balance this. So one gets the impression that Lydia and Phoebe, delightful as they are in the story, will end up like this in their middle age, in Jude Morgan's Regency world. Not an edifying prospect.  Also not edifying for the middle-aged female who is reading the book!