Patronage Paperback – 7 Jul 2011
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Praise for Helen (9780956003898):
'A satisfying drama, full of twists and turns for us to really get our teeth into(Bookbag)
[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)
Regency family values by Jane Austen's greatest rivalSee all Product description
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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.