Set in the Georgian era, Virgina Henley’s Undone aspires to be the sort of saga hist-ro so beautifully crafted by Judith McNaught. And while it falls short of McNaught, it is still a well written and entertaining book, particularly for those readers who like to follow characters over the span of many years.
The Gunning beauties are the daughters of an impoverished third son and inveterate gambler, and an actress. Spurred on by a chance attendance at a Dublin Society function, their domineering mother decides to perpetrate a fraud and launch her daughters into Town.
We follow them through love, marriage, and death mostly through the eyes of heroine Elizabeth. She is a likable character, and her growth is well managed (if only frustrating in the beginning when she is such a push over).
I can’t reveal much more without it being a spoiler. I will say that the book was realistic and highlighted the imperfections of humanity with interest.
The main thing I didn’t like about the book: the romance. Just wasn’t gut wrenching enough to compel my interest throughout. I also thought there was a lot of death, and while accurate for the era, may have been a bit gratuitous in parts. (Call me a romantic!)
The book is based on the real life Gunning sisters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Campbell,_1st_Baroness_Hamilton_of_Hameldon) and is great for history buffs wanting to learn more about these Georgian beauties!