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Misfortune : a novel
Wesley Stace
Adult Fiction STACE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This gender-bending romp about a boy raised as a girl in 19th-century England-penned by musician John Wesley Harding, writing here under his real name-more than lives up to the hype it will surely, ahem, engender. On a night in 1820, effeminate and ineffective (at least according to his mother) Lord Geoffroy Loveall, happens upon a baby abandoned in a trash heap. He brings it home to Love Hall, the grand estate that he is set to inherit, and pronounces the baby his daughter and heir. There's just one problem: the baby is a boy. Geoffroy refuses to accept this fact, but the happy news causes his ailing mother to die on the spot. The baby-named Rose-is raised as a cosseted and doted-on proper young lady, and the legitimate heir, a ruse that works beautifully until Rose begins to wonder about the facts of life: why, for example, does she suddenly feel the urge to pee standing up, like her friend Stephen, rather than squatting like his lovely sister, Sarah? Adolescence (and a few whiskers) only causes further confusion-as does the word "BOY," which begins to ominously appear around the estate. Eventually, Rose's cover is blown, and the scandal prompts several sets of greedy relatives to descend, claiming the Loveall inheritance as their own. There's a huge cast of characters, plot twists aplenty, loads of historical detail (including original Victorian ballads) and a satisfying, tied-together ending that also, in two epilogues, manages to offer up a poignant take on historical interpretation. Yet this lengthy and involved tale makes for speedy reading. Best of all, Rose's original narrative voice is engaging from the get-go: smart, funny, observant, and even hip. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (Apr. 11) Forecast: Like The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, this clever historical potboiler could soar sales-wise, especially with the added Harding hook. 15-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

It is a misfortune that Stace (musician John Wesley Harding) turned from writing music to writing fiction, for his first novel traps us in an unruly, and unrelenting, postmodern quagmire from which we yearn to be released soon after the opening pages. In an effort to combine the foundlings of Fielding with the comic atmosphere of Dickens and the stream-of-consciousness of Joyce, the book recounts the misadventures of a young orphan who is rescued from certain death by benefactor Lord Geoffroy Loveall of Love Hall. Lord Geoffroy determines to raise this young baby as a girl and names "her" Rose Old (an anagram of Dolores) in memory of his sister. Eventually, Rose discovers her true sexual identity, thus beginning a series of escapades in which Rose tries to find a new persona and understand where she fits into her family and society. Too long by half, the novel fails to encourage any sympathy for Rose, and the precious attempts to provide symbolism prove tiresome. Not recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Geoffroy Loveall
Male
Effeminate; finds a baby and claims it as his own; Lord of a grand estate.

Rose
Male
Age: Young adult
Heir
Abandoned in a trash heap as a baby; raised as a girl, finds out he is really a boy;smart; funny; observant.



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