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The Ambitious Stepmother Hardcover – 4 Nov 2002
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However, I think that the author is in danger of reflecting Restoration comedies too fully in the names she chooses for her characters. A little more overt history and a little less slapstick probably wouldn't go amiss.
Stop-press - I've just read Hallie Rubenhold's first novel and I'd really recommend it over this book. It's better researched and I felt like it was an easy read but that I'd learned a lot about the history of the period when I wasn't looking!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Fidelis Morgan has hit Anastasia and Alpiew's stride with this one. There are some laugh out loud moments: the Countess inadvertently invents Bechamel sauce, and the would-be novelist Isabel Murdo-McTavish, in search of the perfect title for her book, proposes "Gone with the Wind" and "War and Peace." As always, real characters drift in and out of the story, and Anastasia and Alpiew find themselves in the company of the Man in the Iron Mask in the Bastille and grouse about the King's fondness for peas to an incognito Louis the XIV.
This is a light-hearted series for all it doesn't gloss over the real discomfort and physical unpleasantness of 17th and early 18th century life. Ms. Morgan doesn't hesitate to describe the filthy streets of her setting or the dubious personal hygiene of her characters, but the contrast makes Anastasia's and Alpiew's antics that much more credible. As always, the loose ends are tied up, and the chapter headings having to do with 17th century cooking are fascinating. (Larks tongues, anyone?).