Coming out this April, to a bookstore near you – A Foreign Affair by
Caro Peacock. Is it worth all the hype or should you leave it on the
This Victorian era novel carries a reader into a tale of
murder and espionage through the eyes of a plucky young heroine named
Liberty Lane. She collects various and assorted colleagues in her
travels through the English countryside in her attempt to solve the
mystery surrounding the demise of her father.
The cover art intrigues while the back flap sucks you in. The first line captures your very soul:
Unfortunately, the excitement ends there. The verbiage quickly
loses the reader as they struggle to make their way through the
intricacies detailed by the author. Description might be good in a
story to paint a picture of the setting and events, but there is too
much of a good thing.
Using many novels from the Victorian era
in the education of my children, I feel a strong love for the writing
of the time. I believe Mrs. Peacock endeavored to mimic this prose in
her writing, but seems a few steps shy. Given time, she might grasp
the craft and capture the essence of the classical authors. The
effort, however, falls flat in this novel.
That said, I adored
the plot, and in the end forced myself to wade through this book for
three weeks, watching as my excitement dwindled. I never like for that
to happen, and as I am one to read the side of a cereal box when
bored? I know it is NOT a good sign when I need to force myself to
pick up a book, let alone open its pages.
Minor details bothered
me about the characters. I felt as if things came rather easy to Miss
Liberty and I never could quite make out her background. One minute it
seemed as though she came from the lowest of working class while in the
next moment I thought her father one of the lower gentry. I definitely
did not like her taking a nap in the middle of the street (OK a trough)
and she parted with her jewelry with seeming little remorse. As the
reader I felt more sadness at the pawning of family pieces than she
expressed. Perhaps that is the difference between she and me, but it
troubled me anyway.
I felt my own inadequacies as an educator
when reading the rigorous schedule she put the children under as
governess. I feel as though my own children follow a classical method
of education akin to that of Miss Liberty's time. However, we most
certainly do not seem to fill hours upon hours on end with studies. If
this is the sort of education that Charlotte Mason endured, it is
little wonder she promoted a change in education that included short
lessons. How those children must long for an escape from the school
day! I found myself praising God every time those children walked the
We foster a great love of learning in our home, yet Miss Lane's lofty schedule is far more than even we live by.
Foreign Affair is a first novel with an intricate and fascinating plot
that gets lost in some of the overabundance of words. If you love the
classics, this tale falls in the period you prefer; however it might
disappoint you in the language.
Originally posted on ladyozma.vox.com