A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
Might contain spoilers.
I almost want to dismiss this novel as a third draft and wait for the finished book. It’s a far cry from a Georgette Heyer story: it’s strange to see recognizable turns of phrase and stock characters used in a haphazard manner and with little wit or care, along with a lack of authenticity, detail, finesse, polish, grace, and charm.
There’s something rather unsympathetic about Kitty. Perhaps it’s her mercenary view of the affair from the start. She’s entitled to want to secure her future, but being a nobody who decides to ensnare a rich man doesn’t warrant sympathy, and she has little character beyond being decisive. Her romance with James is disappointing. There’s nothing wrong with it unfolding on predictable lines, as the genre demands; there just isn’t much to it. Their simultaneous adventures to save each other’s honour at the end are gratuitously symmetric.
With all that said, it’s an adequately entertaining and inoffensive novel that successfully highlights some unpleasant aspects of life with the ton as well as the superficiality and hypocrisy of it all, though with insufficient skill. Archie has several bumbling-Heyer-hero moments that make me imagine this could have been a stronger story had it received more time and attention. In the end, I moderately enjoyed it and am glad everyone got their happy endings, but I couldn’t name a single character for whom I felt anything.