A rarity in the Thirkell canon, this charming and witty historical novel is set in the coronation summer of 1838, when the young Victoria, scarcely older than the tale's narrator, Fanny Harcourt, assumes the throne of England. The seventeen-year-old Fanny's journey from her native Norfolk to London, where she takes up residence with close friend ...Read MoreA rarity in the Thirkell canon, this charming and witty historical novel is set in the coronation summer of 1838, when the young Victoria, scarcely older than the tale's narrator, Fanny Harcourt, assumes the throne of England. The seventeen-year-old Fanny's journey from her native Norfolk to London, where she takes up residence with close friend Emily Dacre (and her father as chaperone) in a Queen Street apartment for the six weeks of festivities surrounding Victoria's corination, allows Thirkell a splendid opportunity to portray the excitements of the capital and its environs through unsophisticated yet sharply discerning eyes. Thirkell's fictional experiment will surprise and delight her established fans and win her new admirers among those enchanted with Victoriana.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-09-07 An unusual venture for Thirkell (see above), this historical novel (first published in 1937) takes place in 1838, during the summer of Queen Victoria's coronation. Friends since boarding school, young Fanny Harcourt and Emily Dacre come to London for the coronation with Fanny's father, her brother Ned and Emily's young neighbor Henry Darnley. Fanny soon catches the eye of a handsome stranger, later introduced to her as DeLacy Vavasour, a celebrated novelist. Together or in pairs, the young people attend an aborted launching of a balloon from the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens and visit a dressmaker, a museum, Madame Tussaud's, the symphony, the Epsom races and the festivities surrounding coronation night. While Ned is attracted to Emily (much to Henry's dismay), Fanny is interested in the fop Vavasour. But when Fanny's father loses the family fortune and the Harcourts are given the cold shoulder by the Vavasours, it's Henry who comes to the rescue. Graced with Thirkell's trademark dry humor and illustrated with newspaper clippings, engravings and paintings of the day (but burdened with references to politics and books now obscure), this deft, modest novel makes a quirky addition to the reprinted Thirkell oeuvre. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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