Sunday, February 05, 2006

HNS Editors' Choice!


The HNS says: "For each quarterly issue of the Historical Novel Society Review Magazine, the editors will select a small number of titles they feel exemplify the best in historical fiction. These novels, which come highly recommended from our reviewers, have been designated as Editors' Choice titles."

This month, The Unconventional Miss Walters was one of their choices!

Here's the review:

Nineteen-year-old Eleanor Walters is obliged by the terms of her guardian’s will to marry an older man, her cousin Lord Leo Upminster, whose uncontrolled temper and rapid changes of mood she finds both bewildering and frightening. However, his dark, handsome looks are undeniably attractive. Ellie is certain that Leo has married purely out of a sense of duty and therefore she insists on a marriage of convenience, denying any intimacy to her husband. Frustration and a series of misunderstandings cause mounting tension, despite Eleanor’s growing affection for Leo. However, she is forced to run away from him after becoming the unwitting victim of malicious gossip. Eleanor decides to take refuge on a lonely country estate with near disastrous results following the outbreak of riots in the area.
Miller’s detailed picture of the social unrest that followed the Napoleonic wars, and the appalling hardship in the country caused by lack of employment, absentee landlords and unscrupulous agents, provides a realistic background to the story. Eleanor’s dilemma, her growing maturity, and social consciousness are sensitively portrayed; moreover, the limitations imposed on her actions, including her plans to renovate the dilapidated housing on the estate, reflect the social realities of the period. The author clearly has a detailed knowledge of fashion history, fabrics, interior furnishings, and other items of everyday use, and I was particularly fascinated by these minor details that add special colour and interest. Miller’s characterisation is wholly convincing, making the novel a particularly engaging and entertaining read that I thoroughly recommend.

--Lucinda Byatt

You can see the article on the HNS site here

I am, as you can imagine, delighted that THE UNCONVENTIONAL MISS WALTERS has been selected this month. I hope that the praise might be translated into sales - but I'm not holding my breath!

Fenella Miller

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