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This was the best-selling novel of 1911, a romantic tale set in about 1811 where you know what is going to happen from the very first page, when Peter Vibart is promised a vast legacy if he will marry Sophia Sefton, but declares he would rather not. He flees metropolitan life to the village of Sissinghurst in Kent, where he encounters many good-hearted comic yokels and falls in love with a mysterious woman who comes to live with him in his cottage. She has firm, well-rounded arms. (That's arms, I say, arms.) It takes Peter (unlike the reader) most of the book to work out her real identity, and to deal with his rival for the marital legacy, his rather two-dimensionally villainous cousin, though I guess he is distracted by the occasional staggering coincidence and his anachronistic inclination towards Christian Science doctrine. I had never heard of Farnol before but apparently he was one of the most successful popular novelists of the first half of the twentieth century, and I suppose I can see the attraction of his undemanding yet breathless style. (Sissinghurst, by the way, was called Milkstreet in 1811 and changed its name only later in the century; more anachronism.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
I read dozens of Farnol's novels when I was a kid, including this one, and still have some on my shelves. I remember hugely enjoying them. They were read alongside Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Dunnett, John Buchan and a dozen others, but it is probably indicative that I haven't sought out any to reread since.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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