THE MARRYING GAME by Kate Saunders


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Four young unmarried sisters set out to capture husbands, thanks to British journalist Saunders (Night Shall Overtake Us<\I>, 1994).

Is it possible to be too beautiful? Too talented? Too intelligent? Too—odd<\I>? The four Hasty daughters are all that and more, simultaneously blessed and cursed by the genetic gifts of their eccentric sire, a penniless aristocrat who never bothered with petty vulgarities like repairing roofs and paying taxes. That’s why Melismate, the Gloucestershire home of the Hasty family for “nearly a thousand years,” is about to be auctioned off. The family’s dear departed father, known as The Zed, short for “Zeus” for his godlike demeanor (not to mention womanizing), is undoubtedly spinning in his marble sepulcher as the Hastys gather for one last Christmas, shedding exquisite tears and boiling leeks for a paltry soup. No use asking their mother, a faded flower-child of distinctly plebian (a seaside sweetshop) origins for help. Peddling homemade jam in the Cotswolds and pulling pints in the pub isn’t enough. And kind widower neighbor Edward Reculver, a well-born soldier-of-fortune and The Zed’s closest friend, had already loaned vast sums of money to their father, who never paid it back. Though they could always throw themselves on the mercy of their long-suffering nanny, who now rents out rooms in her own house to—shall we say—interesting people, the Hasty girls come to the conclusion that marrying money is the only way to save Melismate from going under the hammer. Never mind love. Rufa, Nancy, Lydia, and Selena have already been grievously disappointed by that illusory concept, thanks to an assortment of ne’er-do-wells and nutcases—exactly what they find this time around.

Whimsical and witty comedy of manners.

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-31043-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003


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