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A Little Folly Hardcover – March 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250022274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250022271
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Blending the verbal style of Jane Austen and the sly humor of Georgette Heyer, this hardback edition of Morgan’s 2010 paperback follows siblings Valentine and Louisa Carnell after the death of their cruel, despotic father. Both see their sire’s passing as the gateway to a new and better life. They begin slowly with dinners at their Devonshire estate, which has seen no happiness since their mother’s death decades before. At these events, Louisa must quell the advances of the suitor her late father chose for her, the owner of a bordering estate who is cut from her father’s cloth. Fortunately Louisa has a confidant, a widower whose counsel she gravely regards. At the dinners, to which they invite their estranged cousins, Valentine falls for a married woman who runs a faro club in London. When everyone moves from the estate to London to partake of the celebrations after Napoleon’s defeat, Valentine gets embroiled with the fashionable crowd while Louisa tries to discover who she and her brother really are. --Pat Henshaw

Review

"Complex characters, clever repartee and the manners, morals and address of the time...A captivating, traditional Regency romp." —Romantic Times (4 1/2 stars)

"A Little Folly manages to emulate the sharp observation and wit of Austen, with all the dash and romance of Heyer [and] a plot to rival both those Greats. . . . Effortlessly entertaining, [with] greater depth and soul than a Regency romance might reasonably be expected to have." —Historical Novel Society

"A lively and engaging heroine, attractively wry love interest, and well-drawn secondary characters." —Daily Mail on A Little Folly

"Completely involving and absorbing." —Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall, on Charlotte and Emily


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Carol Chen on May 29, 2010
"A Little Folly" is the story of Valentine and Louisa Carnell, the comfortably well-off brother and sister who have recently been liberated from their tyrannically overbearing father by his death. They are both thrown into a state of hesitant rebelliousness in their newfound freedom and are unsure of what they want. The only thing the Carnells know is that they want to start truly living. They dispense of all the things they most resented about their father but have never consciously acknowledged, from an atrocious fire screen to uptight, painfully proper and condescending Mr. Pearce Lynley, the respectable neighbor who was meant to be Louisa's husband.

The Carnells invite their long-estranged cousins, Tom and Sophie Spedding, to their Devonshire estate and are promptly introduced to the world-wise, flirtatious, but rather superficial behaviour of fashionable townites. Included in the party is Lady Harriet Eversholt, whose unfortunate marital and financial circumstances elicit the sympathies of the Carnells, though perhaps too much so in the case of Valentine. Long-time family friend and confidante, Mr James Tresilian, cautions the siblings with his usual sardonic, imperturbable self but the Carnells whisk themselves off to London at the invitation of their cousins.

All the main characters, through some situation or another, end up in London at the height of festivities for Napoleon's defeat. The narration follows Louisa as she is thrown into whirlwind socialising and the gossipy company of the ton who are fueled by secrets and scandal. At first, she soaks in town with her innocent bystander eyes but in time finds Valentine and herself caught up in plenty of misunderstanding, mystery, and romantic speculation that can be the only outcome of a spell in London.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Old Latin teacher TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2010
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I can only second the excellent review written by Carol Chen. This is Jude Morgan's third novel written in the style of Jane Austen (following INDISCRETION and AN ACCOMPLISHED WOMAN). These three novels are light period pieces of social commentary on life in the 1800s. All three are beautifully written and are especially appreciated by those readers like myself who wish that Jane Austen had written many more novels in her lifetime. I must say, however, that this novel, in particular, reads as if it had been a collaborative effort of Austen and Georgette Heyer (if one of them had been able to time travel to be able to work with the other). When the setting of the novel moves from Devonshire to London, we read lovely satire of the dandies, pretentious fops with their silly slang and outrageous style of dressing and supposedly sophisticated ennui, to be found there. This is something more to be encountered in a Heyer novel than in Austen's classics.

For anyone who loves a great turn of phrase, this book (and the two other Morgan novels mentioned above) is not to be missed. This novel is one to be read slowly and savored. For example, our heroine Louisa has nothing but disdain for Pearce Lynley, the man her tyrannical father had chosen as her future husband. This is beautifully shown to us in sentences like these: "The subject was plainly an uncomfortable one for Mr. Lynley, and for that reason alone Louisa would gladly have seen it pursued; but Valentine, disappointingly, changed it." Or this comment by Louisa: "Just so: you have now enumerated all Mr. Lynley's attractions; he could hardly have done it better himself, though I am sure he would be willing to try.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Graham on June 7, 2010
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Jude Morgan, who counts 'Indiscretion', 'An Accomplished Woman' and 'For the King's Pleasure' (a novel about the illegitimate son of Charles II of England) among his great novels, sets his characters in Regency England and we have all the set pieces and structured social order reminiscent of Elizabeth Gaskell or the Bronte sisters, but what is decidedly missing (thank goodness) is the flimsy feeling we get from other attempts to emulate the writing style of say, Jane Austen. Morgan is truly adept at writing a wonderful, feel-good story that is even more of a joy to read because of the wit and humor with which he endows his main characters. A Little Folly is another hilarious view of what Regency England must have been like for anyone with an iota of sense, but at the same time he adeptly weaves in a love story leaving out all the over-bearing tones a love story inevitably carries with it. I laughed out loud within the first pages, knowing full well this would be another one of Morgan's triumphs and I don't think anyone who counts themselves a fan of the female writers of the late 18th and early 19th century will be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 30, 2011
Excellent. I'm a fan of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Gaskell. This work is more serious than Austen's and Heyer's, not as serious as the wonderful Elizabeth Gaskell. The repartee between characters is excellent as is the story telling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JerseyGirl VINE VOICE on June 13, 2011
A brother and sister leave Devonshire to join their family in London and become embroiled in romance and drama. Due to the death of their father, a very controlling and somewhat abusive man, the brother and sister, Valentine and Louisa, are ready to live life and enjoy themselves with their town cousins.

Valentine soon is in thrall to a young married woman and her husband soon comes calling on Valentine. Louisa and a family friend, James Tresilian, must work to extricate Valentine from the morass in which he is ensnared.

Louisa has been promised, by her recently deceased father, to a man that she cannot remotely even like much less marry. The story revolves around Louisa's promised match to Pearce Lynley and Louisa's attempts to extricate herself from the promises made to Pearce Lynley by her father.

Jude Morgan is always a delight as she weaves a story of romance and mystery with her special kind of humor. Another good read by this author.
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