What an interesting experience this was that can only be enjoyed if you don’t take it seriously (put away your Sherlock Holmes magnifying glasses and your romantic lace crying hankies)! I jumped into it thinking it would be some sort of light-hearted Regency Romance-style romp and it was that, but it also tossed in a bit of murder and mayhem to really make things crazy like some sort of historical Romantic Murder Comedy.
The story is about a young English nobleman who gets up to all sorts of mischief to alleviate his boredom and avoid any matchmaking woman until he meets his match. He falls for a feisty gentleman’s daughter and not soon after, they are engaged. But that’s the easy part for Richard and Emma. The trouble begins when her uncle the duke doesn’t trust the speed with which they plan to marry and uses the power of the purse strings to force them to slow things down and insists on Emma coming to stay with him and his family to guarantee himself a chance to look into the matter personally.
Richard has no desire to wait the stipulated year so he concocts a scheme to keep the original wedding date for two months out. He bets Emma that he can fool her supposedly astute uncle by masquerading as the head gardener on her uncle’s estate for one month without getting caught and in the mean time it will give them a chance to be together. Reluctantly, she agrees to the plan.
But the trouble is that what they cannot factor into the plan is that there are other forces at work on the estate causing the plan to be altered many times to hilarious results that are not limited to further impersonations, blackmail, matchmaking and murder. When it all comes to its zany conclusion, there are more than a few unforeseen events to conclude the matter.
When I speak to the plot, I have to say that my descriptive words of ‘crazy’ and ‘zany’ are spot on. This was just over the top fun. I would be terrified if I ever came into contact with a real Richard Hamilton or William Raike as charming as they are just because of the high jinks to which they are capable. For all the fun, there is an actual plot that focuses on a couple of romances and a murder victim that given more than one person motive to bump the person off. One minor thing is that there are a few places where there is a passive voice and we are ‘told’ and not ‘shown’ so to speak and seemed to be given to transition things to the next scene. Speaking of voice, there are many points of view used to so that there are scenes away from Richard and Emma even.
As to the historical setting, don’t go looking for deep authentic attention to historical detail. Its there to offer mild backdrop stuff and how it sometimes influences character conduct (or at least the intention of influencing it).
The characters while purposely overdrawn were still very personable. I really like Emma’s cousin, Catherine and Lord William the best. They played off each other well. And I loved how I reacted to the characters the way I was supposed to (almost offering up audible boos and hisses when the bad folk were present and doing their thing) even knowing that they are all exaggerated to make them comical.
While this story might not appeal to everyone, it was an enjoyable feather-light piece that will brighten a day. Recommended to those who appreciate their murder mixed with romance and comedy.
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