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Patronage (Mothers of the Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Maria Edgeworth , John Mullan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

About Patronage: She set out to write an adventurous soap opera about the trails and fortunes of two neighbouring families in Regency England. She ended with a searing critique of corruption within British public and private life and a rare insight into the opportunities available for young men making their way in Regency society. Praised as both entertaining and profound (Jeremy Bentham called it ‘admirable...instilling the love of justice and veracity’) Patronage is an engrossing, page-turner of a read which chimes with these recessionary times. Maria Edgeworth's epic tale reflects the liberal views of her father. She may have influenced Sir Walter Scott and Ivan Turgenev, and been a high-profile activist for the famine-stricken Irish during her lifetime, but Maria Edgeworth has since lost ground to her contemporary Jane Austen. Patronage was first published in 1814, a year after Pride and Prejudice, when Edgeworth was far more renowned (and well-paid) than her rival, and this sprawling narrative offers plenty of scope for Colin Firth to turn up in a wet shirt and beget an Edgeworth revival. The novel centres around the Percy family, an upstanding bunch whose good humour is undented even by the shipwreck, the house fire and the devastating machinations of an evil relation which befall them within quick succession. Their moral fibre and naive optimism don't drive great drama, so fortunately they are contrasted with their more scheming cousins, the Falconers. Between them, the two families demonstrate the various aspects of patronage, the Percy patriarch being opposed to the "ruinous system" of achieving professional or personal status by any means other than merit, despite the Falconers' contrasting approach having more immediate advantages. Alongside the familiar element of daughters finding suitably lovable/wealthy/powerful husbands, Edgeworth pays equal attention to the problem of dispensing of sons, whose careers and social standing require as much underhand strategy as marriages. The author's father, the politician and author Richard Lovell Edgeworth, held progressive views about women's role in society and right to be educated, which are reflected in the liberal attitude pervading the story. Aspects of the tome have inevitably dated in the near-200 years since its original publication: the 19th-century punctuation gives much of the text a frantic air, and there's a certain lack of verbal economy; but at the same time there's that satisfying feeling that by the end, no ends will be left untied, and right will reign.

Product Description


Praise for Helen (9780956003898):

'A satisfying drama, full of twists and turns for us to really get our teeth into


[Helen] is a revelation to me and I am grateful for having been put in the way of its wit, its daring and its seriousness (not to be confused with solemnity) of intention (Brian MacFarlane Inside Story)

An intriguing and invigorating breath of Regency splendour and scandal (Rosemary Goring Herald)

Book Description

Regency family values by Jane Austen's greatest rival

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1100 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1419140310
  • Publisher: Sort Of (18 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007BPLS6C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,905 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I'm the publisher and although I chose to revive this novel because it's so throughly engaging and has a surprisingly topical theme I'm concerned that the tag line - `a book in four parts' - used above is misleading. The book is divided into four parts all of which are published in this one volume. It's a big book but carries you along in such an engrossing manner you can't help but speed through, pacing along with a following wind of well crafted characters, plot and dialogue. Happy reading.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary book 29 Aug. 2011
I recommend this to all fans of Jane Austen as the author was a contemporary of Austen, though I suspect unfamiliar to most of us today. Many of the themes are the same, primarily the need for a young woman to make a successful marriage. However, the canvas is broader in this work and there is a lot of emphasis on the careers of the male characters in the law, medicine and the church. Although much of this seemed a bit divorced from reality and in some instances fanciful, this doesn't seem to matter much as one is swept along by the sheer enthusiasm of the narrative. It would make a great Sunday night TV drama as there is a full cast of assorted characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Regency enthusiasts 14 Mar. 2007
By Siovahn A. Walker - Published on
If you don't already have a fondness for Regency literature, this book may seem too long and too moralistic. It is very much *not* in the modern style. However, it's not for nothing that Maria Edgeworth was one of the leading novelists of her day. The book is absolutely stunning in its condemnation of political patronage and the negative consequences of a life built on connections rather than merit. This theme, given the rampant cronyism in the current administration, is both topical and frightening. What I like most about the book, though, is that it is meticulous. The project that Edgeworth set herself was a vast one: to chronicle the negative effects of patronage on one family and the positive effects of hard-work and diligence on another. This means a lot of characters and a lot of situations, and so it is definitely not a quick read. However, by and large, she keeps the entire, unwieldy business in hand.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 200 years 24 Nov. 2013
By Gdaly - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unusual style, antiquated words, but a true gift from the past. I thought I had read all the good old books, but am delighted to have discovered "new" sources of reading pleasure. Anyone who enjoys the English language and culture will appreciate this author and this story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard boiled Edgeworth 29 Nov. 2013
By H. Rink - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a committed fan of novels from this era. Although not the best, this one has many points of interest although I confess some of the action left me confused and uncertain what it was all about. However, this did not take away my enjoyment of the story.
5.0 out of 5 stars More interesting as a study on how power works, and careers develop than as a romance 27 Jan. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked it. The novel is a bit too contrived for modern tastes, I think: too many plot lines. However, as a study of how to get ahead I thought it very useful. And as a romance: it has the proper sweet ending.

What I found most interesting were the male characters. Her contemporaries may have scorned some errors in her dealing with legal issues essential to the plot, but I think she did very well in describing the difficulties in trying to start a career and the balance between sucking up to your clients and managers and having your own professional honor. We may honor talent a bit more than network these days, but it's surely a matter of degree - the same principles still apply.
As such: I think this book is probably especially useful to women trying to make it in the world. It is, after all, a woman's perspective on what was at that time a man's world. The book may have been written 3 centuries ago (published 1813, 1814), but the professional struggles haven't changed all that much.

The women, in contrast, were paper-thin. We have the ideal woman (Caroline, probably a model for Jane in Pride and Prejudice) - but we never get a feel for who she really is. Like Jane she is just a bit too good to be true. Rosamond is a bit more defined, but she too is hardly the subject of the story. Jane Austen's Lizzy may be modeled after her, but is a more rounded out character.
3.0 out of 5 stars romantic 25 Mar. 2014
By Catherine Alice Searson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very old fashioned as one would expect. Very didactic. Some funny bits. Interesting to see old plots. A lot of characters.
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