- File Size: 1736 KB
- Print Length: 256 pages
- Publisher: Regency Assembly Press (January 31, 2014)
- Publication Date: January 31, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00I6NMOEI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,773 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Beggars Can't Be Choosier Kindle Edition
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Katherine proposes that the marriage be valid until one year after the birth of their second child (assuming one of those children is a boy), at which point she suggests the couple divorce. Hmm. Not an easy thing to achieve in the early 19th century, and it is testament to the author’s knowledge of the period that he didn’t gloss over just how difficult a divorce would be – both legally and socially.
However, what starts out as a marriage of convenience quickly develops into something more for each of the contracting parties. But neither of them seem capable of expressing to the other just how much they love each other, thereby creating a number of misunderstandings – especially from Katherine’s side. And as the deadline fast approaches, things take an even nastier turn when Katherine’s fortune is embezzled, while the Earl suddenly finds himself the heir of a lot of money. Suddenly, the positions are reversed, and so things come to quite the emotional crunch.
Mr Wilkes is clearly an expert of the period he depicts, which shows in the casual inclusions of customs, furnishings, clothes and foods. He also does a very good job of describing just how constraining the period was – people “had” to behave in a certain fashion to be accepted in society, and while a peer, however poor, had leeway in what he could or couldn’t do, an upstart, however rich, did not. This is the reason for Katherine’s insecurities in her dealings with her husband, although I must admit to moments when I want to shake some sense into her – that the Earl loves her is obvious to everyone but her.
Mr Wilkes writes a prose that I suspect has as its intention to recreate how people wrote (and spoke) in his chosen period. While this works in the descriptive passages, I did find the dialogue somewhat clunky, thereby detracting a bit from the overall reading experience. This, of course, is a matter of taste, and for readers enamoured of the period as such, I believe they will find Beggars can’t be Choosier a fun and informative read.
I have read only one other Regency novel prior to this so I was unfamiliar with some of the language of the day. My rather dilapidated Concise Oxford Dictionary came to my rescue. Having overcome that problem, I settled to getting to know the characters, learning about their desires and why they make the decisions they make. In this respect, the author has introduced the partners to the marriage upon which he has based the novel with believable motivations given the period in which they live.
From an inauspicious beginning, with triumphs and tragedies to follow, ‘Beggars can’t be Choosier’ takes the reader through the early years of a Regency marriage to a most satisfactory if unexpected conclusion. I have no hesitation in recommending this novel as an enjoyable and worthwhile read.
Katherine has just come back from India, in the company of her Aunt Jenny who has raised her from the time her mother died when she was three years old. She is possessed of a grand fortune left to her by her father, a British colonial in India who has recently died. Her father was got on the wrong side of the sheets and he and Katherine have long felt the hurtful snubs of upper class society, both in England and in India. Katherine is determined to remedy this situation by marrying into the nobility. She also believes that her father’s father is a member of the nobility and is determined to find out who he was.
Katherine makes a careful study of the eligible lords in London who might be interested in marrying for wealth. She has no interest in making such an arrangement permanent so she will offer the lucky man an agreement by which she will have two children by him, including at least one boy, and they will divorce when the second one is a year old. The marriage will never-the-less benefit the potential husband substantially.
Katherine’s list, in the end, boils down to one man, Brian, the Earl of Aftlake. She invites him to a gathering at Miller’s Hotel and presents to him her proposal. He finds her very attractive but, of course, is taken aback by her boldness and the nature of her proposal. He tells her he will give it some thought. Brian is interested in offering for the hand of Sally Saverlock, whom he has known all his life, but after a disastrous trip to her estate, during which she spurns his advances, he decides to take Katherine up on her proposal.
At this point the reader is screaming “What are they thinking?!”
Katherine makes a superb Countess and the arrangement works out far better than either party dared hope. But what will happen when it comes time for the terms of the agreement to be met?
This reader has long been remiss in learning about this period of history, partly because she has never been able to get beyond page one in any book by Jane Austin. However, D.W. Wilkin’s writing is entertaining and accessible and I look forward to reading more of his books on this period.
On the negative side, however -- punctuation errors on every page (Wilkin needs to brush up on apostrophes, commas, and periods), phrasing that was frequently incomprehensible, and unnecessarily stilted language. The story seemed to drag, but it could be because I spent so much time trying to decipher his meaning. Even Charles Dickens, who can be remarkably verbose, is far easier to read.
Please, Mr. Wilkin, find a better editor.