Lydia Templeton is an attractive, intelligent, and accomplished woman of 30; but since she refused to marry the eligible Lewis Durrant several years ago and has remained single ever since, society views her as somewhat eccentric. Lydia genuinely enjoys the freedom of her single state, so when her godmother Lady Eastmond asks her to become a companion to her ward Phoebe Rae, Lydia is reluctant to accept the responsibility. Phoebe has managed to fall in love with two different men, and Lady Eastmond hopes that Lydia’s good sense will help Phoebe to make a suitable choice. Lydia, however, is appalled, especially when she must accompany Phoebe to the notorious marriage market of Bath. There Lydia must cope with Phoebe’s vacillating affections, hidden motives on the part of Phoebe’s two suitors, and the presence of Lewis Durrant, who has come to Bath seeking a bride.
Finally, a novel set in the Regency era that actually imitates Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and does it well! The influence of Austen and Heyer on this book is obvious, but Morgan manages to come up with a fresh, original take on the material and create a story that is interesting in its own right. I had a couple minor quibbles with characterization towards the end of the book, which I can’t discuss without spoiling plot points, but overall I really enjoyed this book. Definitely recommended for Regency and Austen fans!
68. G. K. Chesterton, On Tremendous Trifles
I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most prolific writers of his time, and his writings covered every imaginable genre, from biography to literary criticism to nonfiction to detective stories. "Tremendous Trifles" was originally a collection of 39 short essays published between 1902 and 1909 in the London newspaper Daily News. This new edition from Hesperus Press contains 21 of the essays, along with a forward and a short biography of Chesterton. The essays cover such wide-ranging topics as the importance of fairy tales, the excitement of discovering the contents of one’s pockets, the beauties of white chalk on brown paper, and “the advantages of having one leg.” Chesterton examines these seemingly trivial topics and relates them to important philosophical concerns of the modern age.
Anyone familiar with Chesterton’s writing style will know what to expect in this collection of essays: audacious paradoxes, wildly exaggerated statements, unusual metaphors, and playful treatment of ultimately serious subjects. I would certainly recommend this collection to Chesterton fans, although I wish the Hesperus edition contained all 39 of the original essays instead of just 21! For newcomers to Chesterton’s work, I would recommend starting with a full-length book like Orthodoxy, where he is able to explain his views in more detail. One thing that amused me about the forward to this edition was the editor’s statement that “the collection might best be appreciated now as a period piece” – a statement with which I think Chesterton would completely disagree! While the essays certainly do address the concerns of a particular time period, they also make claims about universal human truths, and I think Chesterton would want his readers – whether they ultimately agree with him or not – to take his views seriously.