Sunday, 28 March 2021

Miss Lockharte's Letters

Book reviews on this blog are normally related to military history in some way; indeed as it happens there will be another Wars of the Roses related post along shortly. However, today I shall venture into a different genre and address this book, which is a Regency romance:

Now, I am very fond of Jane Austen, and can remember, when laid up with glandular fever many years ago, being grateful for my mother's Georgette Heyer collection to pass the time. But other than that, it's not exactly the sort of book that I would go for. I'm more of a hard-boiled, noir sort of chap. All the same, when this was recommended to me, with the insistence that I in particular needed to read it, I thought that I might as well give it a go.

The reason for the recommendation becomes obvious half way through chapter four. In the first three chapters we are introduced to our Heroine, the eponymous Miss Lockharte. In what I thought was a creative and amusing exposition it is explained why she has, through the ill luck and misfortune that so often seems to have befallen young ladies at that time, found herself in difficult circumstances; the very type of circumstances that cry out for her to be recued by a Hero. We meet this chap - it goes without saying that he is an aloof, saturnine, single, wealthy, peer of the realm - in chapter four, where it also becomes apparent that he has, perhaps inadvertently, played a part in bringing about our heroine's despair. He is rather unhappy when we first come across him, being under the cosh from the women in his life:  his mother, who wants him to marry, settle down and produce an heir; those debutantes having their 'come out' season and trying to trap him into marriage; his sister, who resents his refusal to accept her chosen beau; the mistress he is trying to get rid of. In fact he could literally have been any one of us in our youth, or, just possibly, some among us in the not too distant past. This similarity is something that becomes even more obvious when the author tells us:

"And all he wanted to do was play with his toy soldiers."

So, does all come right for our protagonists in the end? I think we all know the answer to that, but the journey to get there is entertaining enough. Are the toy soldiers pertinent to the plot? Astonishingly, they are.  I won't expand further on what happens, but there is one development that will strike a chill into many hearts: someone breaks in and steals some of his soldiers. I know, how evil is that?


  1. Perhaps he and the heroine may find true love over the wargaming tabletop with a mutual interest in 28mm figures ?

    1. Are you suggesting that size matters to a lady?

    2. was going to say 54mm - but that would be boasting - historically in this era - German flats ?