Email this review


Last in Chesney's The Six Sisters series of Regency romances in which the daughters of that barrel-bodied, fox-hunting vicar, the Reverend Charles Armitage--a cleric of most earthly appetites--spin off into superb marriages, one by one--usually after social and amatorial pratfalls, and the hair-raising duenna-ing of that ""old rip"" Malaproprian Lady Godolphin. Last leaf to fall (or rather rise) in the household of the widowed Rev. Charles Armitage (Mrs. A. having had her last vapors in mid-series) is the ""sadly small"" Frederica, who bolts her female seminary after learning that Papa plans to wed the bouncy chambermaid, Sarah. Frederica decides to try chambermaiding herself and bumbles into the household of the ""Wicked Duke"" of Pembury. Not surprisingly, like all wicked dukes, Pembury is handsome and pure sterling beneath the satanic glitter. While Frederica (naive but with the spunk of ten) and the Duke gradually ignite in mutual appreciation, there'll be: a grand house-party at the ducal estate during which Lady Godolphin bites the ankle of the Duke's beautiful and mean ex-mistress, Lady James; a vicarage plot to break up the Vicar/Sarah engagement and a sweet future for curate Mr. Pettifor; a wild night for the Duke of Pembury and Frederica in a woodsy hut; a conference of Armitage sisters by which Frederica is taken in hand; villainous plots by ex-mistress Lady J. and the series' bad man, Guy Wentwater, whose demise at the close is most appropriate. In all, a genuinely amusing series with unobtrusive approximations of 18th-century idiom and all the idiocies of the genre. Of varying quality; but, still, in the current relentless parade of Regencies in which an untried lass takes the titled toff, Sisters is well out in front and a dashing good show.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's