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Enlightenment by Sue Limb


by Sue Limb

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The random library catalogue search which generated this novel was 'love triangles', only the romantic entanglements in Enlightenment actually form more of a love quadrangle,with the most unassuming heroine ever as the common link. The blurb from The Times on the cover suggests that Jane Lockhart is 'witty, sharp and charming', but I would have to disagree. Jane is a whinging doormat who marries in haste and repines at leisure, until united her with her heart's true desire through the (deus ex) machinations of Romancelandia. The secretive husband I could just about work with, even though I couldn't figure out why Jane fell for William so quickly. The final chapters, however, were one convenient arrangement too many. And the key to any 'love triangle' is that the reader should care for the characters, either by wanting a couple to stay together or wickedly cheering on the other man/woman, but I only pitied Sir Thomas, a pale imitation of Mr Knightley, never really got to know William, and couldn't stand the saintly Jane.

The narrative style is what I term 'faux Austen', peppering modern day English with archaic words like 'babe' for infant and 'agitated' for excited, which works fairly well. The clonking great message of 'free love' that Sue Limb forces on her characters doesn't succeed in 'translating' the late eighteenth century to quite the same degree, however. Basically, a young woman marries the wrong man, but because of the laws of the time, she is unable to divorce her husband and marry the man she really loves. Even though said husband is a wretch who only married poor Jane for convenience, and the man she wants to marry has since married her sister, and the man's son is also in love with Jane, etc. I knew that everything would be resolved to suit Jane, but had fun guessing how the husband and sister would be removed from the equation.

A competent novel, with a powerful story, undone by bad casting. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 8, 2012 |
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A tale of passion mistaken for love and of love lost and found.

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