Friday, 11 February 2011
I'm not sure why I had not come to Marriage by Susan Ferrier before, particularly with my forthcoming nuptials making me home in on anything potentially wedding/marriage related. But anyway, I spotted it on Amazon and ordered it for Virago Reading Week. As it was quite a chunky tome, it took me a little longer to actually pick it up. But I did this week.
Ferrier has sometimes been described as a Scottish Jane Austen; it's difficult to say whether or not that is true from reading one book. Certainly there were elements of social manners. I'm afraid that I struggle with 19th century fiction so this wasn't one of my favourite VMCs. It starts off well - our heroine, Lady Juliana is about to be forced into marriage with an ancient earl by her father, simply because he represents the best prospects. Just before, she elopes with a penniless man. They go to Scotland, where his father is based, simply because they do not have any money to live on! She struggles with the rugged Scottish castle where she is now forced to live, and a marriage which does not seem likely to be successful now that the initial romance has disappeared. Twin daughters follow, and then the focus of the story shifts to them; a change in fortune means that Lady Juliana can move to London, but she only takes one of the girls with her. We then follow the differences in their upbringings, a classic story of contrast. I thought that this latter part of the book lacked the drive and humour of the first part; it is a long book and might have been better as a shorter book perhaps? I read in the introduction that Ferrier started out co-writing it with another lady, who dropped out early on, and I wonder if that is responsible for its over-longness?
It's just been published once by Virago with an original green cover.