An usual heroine for a historical romance: because she was never domesticated as a rich, proper English lady normally would have been, all her ideas and behaviours were refreshingly bold and natural. For example, she took on the typical male roles: she seduced the man; she was the one who wished to continue their romance without marriage; and she was the one not driven by appearances and a desire to please society. I liked her. I also liked her believability: she didn't suddenly recover from trauma, but her development was gradual and balanced.
The pacing was poor for the last third: I grew impatient. And the ending had one particularly ridiculously unbelievable twist, thankfully with a secondary character, not the main couple. I wasn't fond of the transitions to Kyle's story: it was a jerky storytelling method that detracted from the main story.
I wonder how different this story would have been if Muriel were a boy and Dominic were, say, a widow (to give her some power in English society). From a 21st century hindsight pov, Muriel didn't have enough relative gratitude for her situation. Good book for gender studies, that's for sure.
The twist to this romance is that the female character is considered "mad" and one of her guardians wants to commit her to an institution for treatment and the other would like to see her married, if possible. The "treatment" at the time for mental illness is Scary, but very accurate. A subplot is about a woman committed to the institution because her husband wanted her money. A good insight into how mental illness was viewed and "treated" in the past. Let's NOT go back to that, though abandoning most of our mentally ill today is a crime as well.
good story -- surprise ending was unexpected. liked it .. however shouLd have read this before CHINA BRIDE...it would have clarified a lot of the other story. Will read more of Mary Jo Putney's work
story is too slow
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