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Britisher Tennant (Woman Beware Woman, The Bad Sister) poses here as ""editor"" to a Scottish orphan who--adopting the breathless antique style of debs in the days of Defoe and Richardson--chronicles the disasters that befall her in aristocratic London of the 1950's. Beautiful ""scotch-haired"" Robina is brought up on an isolated farm by a stingy aunt and farming uncle, but she's the scion of a once-grand Scottish family that still retains a link to wealth and glamour through Robina's rake of an older uncle. So when she is sent to an Oxford boarding school to be ""Finished,"" she's quickly set upon by a vicious schoolmate and destitute Russian Prince who are determined to get at her imagined fortune. After a stay at a decrepit highland castle, she's sent to a ""Contessa"" in Paris to study ""the French History of Art."" Alas, the Countessa nearly starves her while the Count tries to win her virtue for a pastry. Robina ends up at the London flat of a bankrupt, tippling ""Lady"" who has been paid by her aunt to guide her through the debutante season. But after one dreary ball, she's abandoned to a pack of young wolves who take her to a disreputable pub--where she's spotted by her notorious uncle and no less than the ""Heir to the Throne."" Robina is taken in by her uncle, but she soon discerns that she's being groomed for the sexually dysfunctional old ""Prince."" She dodges uncle's well-laid trap, but when she at last surrenders her virtue it is a fiasco--and her handsome lover turns out to be a thieving rogue. In disgrace, she's sent North to be married to a man in a Rod-and-Tackle business. Tennant juxtaposes the Capital Letters and laments of antique style with modern sexual slang to create a witty, brisk satire of a predatory elite that has changed little since the 18th century.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1987
Publisher: Persea