In the tradition of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton comes Netta Cruse, an ambitious novelist who chose to write in the grand old style with her first novel, The History of Sir Henry.
Surprisingly, Sir Henry is the antagonist of this story and his niece Lady Frances is the protagonist. At
age nineteen, Lady Frances Pleckham is left an orphan and sent to live with her
uncle, Sir Henry, until she comes of age. After some severe disagreements, Lady Frances decides to leave Sir Henry’s home and go to London in the guise of a maid.
Once in London, Lady Frances becomes the guardian of Miss Avenington. All is going well, with the only fly in Lady Frances’ ointment being Mr. Beauclerk, a gentleman of Lady Frances’ acquaintance when she was living with her uncle. With one word from him, Lady Frances
could be back under her uncle’s roof in hours. Despite this looming threat, Lady Frances stays on with Miss Avenington out of affection. Soon enough, however, her affections spread to include Mr. Beauclerk. Later, in a
knightly proposal of marriage, Mr. Beauclerk reveals his affections for Lady Francis.
On the whole, The History of Sir Henry is enjoyable. The wording
is stilted and disjointed at first, but that fades into the background of the
story. This book is written in the style of the classics and earnestly tries to capture their spirit.
Ms. Cruse put an impressive effort into the writing of this book. It must have been difficult to write, as it’s entirely
against the grain of the way things are done today. The reader is able to connect with the characters and get happy or excited as they do throughout the story. If you enjoy reading the classics and won’t be distracted by the phrasing you’ll love this book.
Hopefully there will be more like it to come in the future.