DAPHNE by Marion Chesney


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Chesney continues to marry off the six daughters of the Reverend Charles Armitage, that fox-hunting Regency vicar; and, if the novels have become progressively blowsier since the bright premiere, Minerva (1983), they always do feature at least a few amusing eccentrics, leaping through some inventive antics. Daughter #4 is Daphne Armitage--a dazzling beauty of, apparently, ""no character at all,"" who has quickly discovered that her well-tended beauty serves as a marvelous shield against the need to ""exert herself in any way."" Moreover, she's determined to wed the ""divinely fair"" and exquisitely boring Mr. Cyril Archer. But then, just as Daphne is returning from London with her offbeat chaperone Lady Godolphin (who resembles ""a well-scrubbed bulldog""), a new potential suitor appears--out of the mud! The Reverend, you see, has dug a ditch-booby-trap in the road for his martinet of a Bishop, but the upended victim is actually eligible bachelor Simon Garfield. Both Simon and Daphne are antagonistic at first, of course. Soon, however, Simon is reluctantly intrigued by such impulsive performances as: Daphne's fight for foxhound rights; her dreadful dinner, prepared for Lady Godolphin's wine-sozzled guests, singers of naughty songs; and her passionate abandonment when kissed by Simon, the two of them sprawled in rain and mud at a London parade. But why does Daphne insist on marrying the dreadful Archer? Could it be connected to nasty incest rumors? And what about sister Annabelle, who's unaccountably miserable with her hitherto-beloved husband and her decidedly ugly baby? Well, there'll be some forthright snooping by Lady G. (who reunites with an elderly suitor) and Simon before the happy close. . . while the Reverend Armitage, after a brief spell of drab devoutness, returns to the hunt and cheerful sinning. Broad and a bit silly in its humor--but boisterous, often funny, and the liveliest Armitage installment since Minerva.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's