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The Appearance of Impropriety

by Kate Dolan


Reading Kate Dolan's period romances may make a romance fan of me yet. Her latest, The Appearance of Impropriety, is a pure delight. Lieutenant Hayward Elliott, like many returning veterans no matter the time period, is home from war, trying to find a well-paying position so that he can support his mother and sisters. When he enters the Bayles household to interview for an opening as land steward, his life becomes intertwined with that of Miss Sophie Bayles, the oldest daughter of the household. But it isn't all roses. In fact, Sophie's temper flies at the young lieutenant when he reacts negatively to being in the line of fire of an egg dropped by Sophie's young house guest, Helen. Sophie's actions cause Lt. Elliott to lose this financial opportunity and soon Sophie rues her temper and seeks a way to make amends by finding him employment. The comedy of errors that follows revolves around station and social place and has both humorous moments and moments of deep despair. Sometimes, it looks as if no good deed goes unpunished.

I admired Sophie's spunk and determination, which was quite out of character for most young ladies in her position. And young Lt. Elliott proves himself to be of noble character, even in the most dire circumstances. My favorite character, though, was young Helen, a budding scientist who had only been experimenting when Lt. Elliott happened upon her falling egg. Helen reminded me a lot of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies and books, a socially odd character but with an uncommonly brilliant mind and a good heart. Helen was indeed as intelligent as Luna, and equally at odds with society.

The Appearance of Impropriety is a fast read, but a fun one. Dolan paints this period of England quite well, making you want to linger over the pages—if you weren't in such a hurry to find out how it all turns out. This book has a lot of the same themes as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and fans of classic literature would find it quite appealing, and easier to tackle, because Dolan's language is clearer, without the conventions of writers of Austen's time. Very well done!

The Book

Cerridwen Press
January 9, 2009
1419958224 / 978-1419958229
Regency romance
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2009