CHELSEA by Nancy Fitzgerald
Kirkus Star


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An airy, bouncy Victorian comedy/romance, written with such an expert flounce that when Wilde and Swinburne make a cameo appearance, not a stitch pops in the repartee. Portrait artist Sheridan, just having lost his latest model, needs a new one: who can he get? Well, thanks to butler Willet (a shameless Jeeves clone), he gets Miss Cecily Hawthorne, eager to escape her durance vile as a nursemaid to two tarantulan mites. And will this lead to romance? Not if mammoth Lady Holly has her way: she's baiting a marriage trap for Sheridan with her sweet, miserable daughter Constance. And further complications are provided by Lady Holly's rival Mrs. Fluster--who lives for Art, receiving visitors in her ""Early Italian Drawing Room,"" which is adorned with her own painting of the Fluster coat of arms (featuring a creature resembling a pig, though ""dignified with wings""). Also at ""Fluster Fancy"": limp son Cedric, who affects a lithp; severe daughter Joconda (who knows that the Fluster money boat has beached); and a rich, very loud American family with a very loud daughter, Miss Flutterby. After a series of decorous fits and manly starts, detours and re-routings, these milling gaggles pair off brilliantly, and it all ends with a romantic tableau of ""artist and model."" True flummery of no consequence whatsoever, and therein, for those longing for simple pleasures, lies its considerable charm.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday