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Undone Mass Market Paperback – 1 Dec 2003
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"No one sets fire to the page like Virginia Henley."
No one sets fire to the page like Virginia Henley. (Christina Skye)
"The true story of lowborn but beautiful Elizabeth Gunning (1733-1790), who took Georgian England by storm and became a duchess twice, is vividly fictionalized in this unconventional romance from Henley...Possessing all the sensuality and glitter of a more traditional romance but enriched by the plot's complexity and the heroine's genuine growth, this captivating tale will leave readers amply satisfied."
Starred Publishers Weekly Review"
About the Author
Virginia Henley is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. A grandmother of three, she lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
By Virginia Henley
I always enjoy Virginia Henley books. She writes about real women, who lived before women were liberated and who succeeded in life against great odds.
Undone is about Elizabeth Gunning (ca Dec., 1733-Dec. 20, 1790), daughter of impoverished Irish gentry, who became wife of two Dukes - an unheard of scenario at the time. Her sister, Maria, became the wife of an Earl. Henley credits their rise in the world to an overbearing mother and amazing beauty.
As always, Ms. Henley vividly describes the relationships between her heroine, her partners, and other important characters. They act within a historically accurate scene. Their friends and enemies actually existed. Their stories reveal themselves in realistic, riveting, emotionally satisfying plots.
Whether Henley's characters are actually like the people she depicts is questionable. Certain facts about Elizabeth, which would weaken Henley's plot and characterization, are omitted. These omissions suggest that the real people and the real story may differ from Henley's version. For example, in Undone, Elizabeth and her first husband have one child. They actually had three. This fact sheds a different light upon her relationship with her first husband. Similarly, in Undone, Elizabeth enters marriage to a second husband without an interim relationship. Actually, she was engaged to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater before her second marriage. He broke off the engagement. This suggests a different relationship between Elizabeth and John Campbell than that depicted in the novel.
Usually I think Henley novels rate five stars. But I am giving this one four. Henley's introduction of characters and plot was not as good as I would expect. In this phase, her writing was awkward and the dialogues seemed stilted. But once this rather long introduction was finished, she rose to her usual delightful standard.
I read this book into the wee hours of the night/morning almost being unable to put it down, savoring every page & chapter, and I was sorry when it ended. This is my second Virginia Henley book (The Raven & The Rose was great which led me to more of this author's books).
Thank you, Ms. Henley for being a dramatic cut above! I marveled at the amount of work that must have gone into this book. I am looking forward to reading several more of your books which I've just purchased & I'll be reading this one again!