I have to put it out there first thing. This book does have an eew Mansfield Park type plot.
Now that that is out of the way I will state that this beautifully crafted book. The sub characters are really interesting and the plot moves along at a quick pace.
Its a departure from the typical books I review; My Cousin Jeremy is told in first person and is a sweeping personal epic worthy of the earthier tones of John Irving. Speers characters are three dimensional yet subtle and are therefore honest in her portrayal. It seems obvious that this book was a labor of love, and the attention to historical detail reveals a depth of research sometimes lacking in romance.
Set in Edwardian England, the plot follows the daughter of an aristocrat and her journey towards independence. Throughout several decades and as many marriages, we see the struggles of a woman during times of war and her fight to carve out a niche among her circle in Society.
I don’t want to give away much more of the plot, but needless to say that the main impetus of the story is her love for her cousin Jeremy.
It kept my attention and kept me up late, alternating with emotion and action which was masterfully crafted.
Still, I have mixed feelings about the book. I gave it some serious thought, and I came to the realization that my primary beef with the book was its main foundation–one true love that can stand all the slings and arrows of misfortune a life can have. I am skeptical that an attachment formed in childhood can endure into adulthood. In terms of a story, (and in terms of life) it doesn’t provide for or allow a true character arc. I am always skeptical of marriages hatched from an early age. Statistics support such skepticism. And although a shorter life expectancy and truncated child bearing cycle might neccessitate early connections, our hero and heroine don’t seem to have these concerns.
I think some readers will love this book. Others…not so much. Adult themes and light intimacy recommend parental guidance, but won’t be a hindrance to vanilla hist-ro lovers.
I definitely look forward to reading more of Speers and suggest readers looking for a new interesting author to check her out, too.