Wow, this is the second time in a very short span of time that I’ve re-read a book and changed my initial thoughts about it. The first book was The Wooing of Miss Masters which I thoroughly enjoyed the second time around.
I didn’t quite enjoy Curricle & Chaise as much on the second re-reading, but it was better than I remembered it being.
The story in brief: Lydia Barrington and her younger sister are left penniless on the deaths of their parents and are forced to rely on the generosity of their aunts. Susan goes to the ‘better but poor aunt’ (wife of a minister) whilst Lydia goes to the appalling but rich aunt. Whilst there she meets the hero, is treated appallingly by her male cousin and ends up returning to stay with the poor aunt. Where she stays for ages and ages and ages until through a whole lot of coincidences she ends up running into the hero again and getting her Happily Ever After.
I did enjoy this book but the very, very long period between the heroine leaving her rich aunt and seeing the hero again seemed completely irrelevant. There was no character development of the heroine and certainly she seemed to give up any thoughts of the hero quite easily. The POV jumped around quite a bit as well which I’m never fond of (unless it is to let us know the inner thoughts of the stoic hero of course!)
The author cites Jane Austen as one of her inspirations and I certainly got a sense of Mr Fairfax (from Emma) in terms of the antics by the hero’s brother. There’s a bit of humour as well – I enjoyed Sir John Ferdinand and some of the heroine’s antics – but some of the humour occasionally seemed out of place. And the final act visited upon Lydia’s female cousin (spoilers if I say any more) seemed cruel and unnecessary, in my opinion.
If you’re after a slow paced book with lots of dialogue and an extremely long period between encounters, then I’d definitely recommend buying Curricle & Chaise, but otherwise give it a miss.