My Sweet Folly, by Laura Kinsale

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The first Laura Kinsale I ever read was the widely admired Flowers From the Storm, and I didn't care for it. Since everyone seemed to agree it was her best, I felt a little leery about reading anything else by her. Since then, however, I've read posts by many people who didn't enjoy FFTS but who absolutely adored other Kinsales, so I thought I'd try another one. A friend had My Sweet Folly, so that was the chosen one.

My dear girl! I could never fall in love by letter. Though I have no doubt you are a notorious breaker of hearts, not to mention a princess in disguise, and if I were a few miles closer to Toot-above -the-Batch I would be in great danger. From the safe distance of another continent, I will admit to a modest desire to see how your pearl becomes you, even to know the color of your hair and eyes, but this is mere curiosity, I assure you."

Through letters, a lonely young wife grows to love a man thousands of miles away. But when she finally meets him in truth, reality is turned upside down. She cannot find her own Robert in the frightening stranger who claims her love.
I'm very glad to say I can now say I totally "get" Kinsale! An A-.

The book starts with a prologue which is the best I've ever read. It's simply a transcription of the letters Folie and Robert exchange throughout many years, while she's in England, married to Robert's cousing, and he's in India. In a few pages, Kinsale succeeds in showing them getting to know each other and falling in love believably, which is actually amazing, if you think of it.

Then, some years later, Robert comes back to England and is appointed guardian of his late cousin's daughter, Folie's step-daughter. He immediately orders both women to his estate and Folie is understandably astounded when she meets him and, instead of the kind, funny man who shone through in the letters, she's received by a man who is seemingly a madman.

So the story goes slowly from there, and it's a fascinating process. I was greatly intrigued by what was going through Robert's head, didn't understand for some time what exactly was going on and, at the same time, I was even more intrigued (as was Folie), by the little glimpses of the man he'd once been that Robert a few times allowed to shine through.

After the action moves to London, about half-way through the book, the book became slightly less enjoyable to me, as I thought it became a bit more familiar. The first half I can truly say was composed of elements I'd never read before, the second half was more recognizable. Still good, but not as novel. The only thing I didn't like was the suspense subplot, which struck me as a little too fantastic.

All in all, it was excellent, from the story itself to the author's delicious writing style. Next, I'm going to read For My Lady's Heart, Middle English dialogue and all! I feel very brave :-D


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP