Friday, August 8, 2014

The Buccaneers

Nan and Jinny St George seem like they have it all. They are wealthy young women, and they are fortunate enough to be pretty too. The problem is: they are new money. They cannot secure the position, invitations, or marriage proposals they desire. Nan's new governess takes pity on them, and introduces them to some leading families in England. This opens doors for them that were firmly closed in America. When the girls meet some high ranking British aristocrats everything seems perfect for them. They discover romances with aristocrats are not the fairy tale they thought it would be.

Edith Wharton only wrote part of this book. She died before she could complete it. Marion Mainwaring finished the story. The problem with this is, it is often difficult to know if the author would have written the book the same way, unless there are extensive notes they wrote about their ideas. About two thirds of the book was suppose to be written by Wharton. Manwaring did make changes to some points to make it fit the rest of the story. The problem was there was a difference in writing styles, and you could tell while reading the book.

I liked the overall idea of the story. Rich American girls marrying for titles, and aristocrats marrying commoners for the money these girls would give them. It was an interesting setting to examine political and romantic issues. The presentation of the story left something to be desired, but that just might be because of the author's death and another person finishing it. Part way through the book there is an abrupt change in focus. The beginning focuses on Nan, her family, and friends. Towards the middle there is a shift to it mostly being about Nan. I wish it had stayed a little more balanced. While not my favorite period piece, I liked the issues it brings up. I wish Wharton had been able to finish the book.

If you are a fan of Edith Wharton or interested in period pieces, I would recommend trying this book.

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