Julia and the Master of Morancourt by Janet Aylmer
(from the back of the book)
Julia Maitland has reached marriageable age living in her family’s estate in rural Derbyshire, but her prospects are dramatically altered by the sudden death of her soldier brother in the war against Napoleon and the loss of her father’s investments.
Within a few weeks, Julia finds herself in London, in fashionable Bath, and then chasing smugglers through the countryside in coastal Dorset, trying to achieve a match with the man she loves, rather than the arranged marriage preferred by her ambitious mother.
Set in the period when Jane Austin was writing her famous novels, Janet Aylmer’s latest book follows the lively heroine and handsome hero searching for happiness together in turbulent times.
This is a simple story of two people falling in love. And by simple I mean there is no suspense, mystery, twists, or even any tension. The novel tries for all of these by doesn’t quite make it so the book, and therefore the characters, fall flat. It’s a good enough idea but without any surprises or struggles to overcome overwhelming hardships there just isn’t much here. It is written in the language of the time and most of the time it’s fine but every once in a while a word or phrase jumps out as out of place and awkward. And there are a couple of points that are too obviously contrived, two characters need to be alone so there is someone at the door who came by for unexplained reasons, or there is a letter calling someone home for unexplained reasons. It wasn’t horrible or anything but in the end I just didn’t find it very interesting.