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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Lady Elizabeth's Comet - Sheila Simonson Very possibly the most enjoyable Regency romance I have read yet. All the usual genre tropes are here: the sensible heroine in her late 20s, her troublesome but amusing family, the strong-willed man who enters her life through uncontrollable circumstances. But Simonson makes her characters breathe and feel as no other regency writer I've read. The story is told in the first person, and we are placed into the mind of a woman in the nineteenth century--a very intelligent and educated mind, but one nevertheless of her period, with the period's prejudices. It is painful to realize that even Lady Elizabeth, who has spent her twenties peering through a telescope rather than marrying, has ingested the poisonous idea that an intellectual woman is unnatural. She is unusual to the modern reader in other ways: she has little interest in her younger siblings, and in fact doesn't know them well or provide for their education, despite their dependence upon her. The usual cliche of a hero realizing his love for a heroine by watching her tender care toward children or the sick doesn't hold true here. And to readers used to Heyer's sexless maidens, Lady Elizabeth's thoughts are quite inappropriate--though not passionate, she has an eye for handsome men.

I was surprised to find such character development, emotional depth, and complex interpersonal relationships. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has liked Austen, Heyer, or any of the many regency writers--so long as they're not hoping for a paint-by-numbers story.