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The Imprudence of Prue

January 23, 2015

The Imprudence of Prue is sort of proto-Georgette Heyer — all historical high society and everyone in debt — but set much earlier, at the beginning of the 18th century, and — I don’t know, I thought it felt pretty convincingly historical. It’s by Sophie Fisher, and I can’t find out anything about her, or any other books by her, and I’m kind of disappointed.

Prudence Brooke is a viscountess, a twenty-two year old widow, and as beautiful as novelists know how to build their heroines. She’s deep in debt, engaged to someone who’s not in a much better situation, financially, and she needs cash if she’s going to worm her way back into Queen Anne’s good graces.

Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t come across this plot in a historical novel before. Once Prue marries, her debts will pass to her husband. And if her husband dies, the debts will be cancelled. So she decides to marry a highwayman who’s condemned to hang within the next few days. It’s kind of brilliant.

When I tell you that the highwayman is young and handsome and secretly related to an aristocratic family, you will know how things are going to pan out, but you’ll only know some of the things. A lot of stuff happens. Just. A lot of stuff. The aforementioned secret relations, and blackmail, and stolen jewels, and disguises and honestly, so much debt.

The plot moves at a quick pace — it has to, to fit everything in — but it doesn’t feel rushed, and while some things didn’t make a whole lot of sense, I didn’t really care. And I guess that goes for almost everything about this book, aside from my indignant outburst on Twitter over Jewish businessmen in (mostly) historical fiction. There were flaws, but they didn’t detract from the fun. I would read another book by the ungoogleable Sophie Fisher. I would even read this one again.

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8 comments

  1. This sounds way, way up my alley.


    • It’s really fun. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.


  2. why aren’t all heroines called prudence? that name needs to make a comeback.


    • I could get behind that.

      Actually, there should be old-fashioned name affirmative action. Authors have to take a certain percentage of their heroines’ names from a list of underused ones. Prudence, Muriel, Annice, Mavis etc.


      • Ha! We need to get to a point where authors are picking exotic names like Jessica and Lauren (not to mention Katherine)


  3. I downloaded this in November and promptly forgot about it. It sounds really good, even if it’s not my favorite time period!


  4. This sounds fun! I’m on an e-book kick again and will have to add this to the list.


  5. I’ve read the plot before but not set in Queen Anne’s time – Lord Johnnie by White has a young woman marry a highwayman who’s condemned to die – only he escapes.

    I remember liking the book a great deal but it’s been a long time since I read it.



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