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By Birth a Lady   By: (1831-1909)

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By Birth a Lady by George Manville Fenn is a captivating historical fiction novel set in the early 19th century. The story revolves around the life of Lady Mary Woodruff, a woman born into high society who endeavors to break free from the constraints imposed upon her by society and find her own path.

The author skillfully transports readers into the glamorous world of regency England, painting vivid scenes of lavish balls, elegant mansions, and the opulent lifestyles of the aristocracy. The attention to detail is impeccable, as Fenn meticulously captures the customs, manners, and extravagant fashion of the era, immersing the reader in the story's rich historical backdrop.

Lady Mary, the protagonist, is a complex and multidimensional character. With her spirited nature and determination to challenge societal norms, she challenges the expectations placed upon women during this time period. Fenn expertly portrays the struggles and frustrations faced by Lady Mary as she yearns for independence and intellectual fulfillment amidst a world that dismisses women's ambitions.

As the narrative unfolds, we witness Lady Mary's journey of self-discovery and growth. The author beautifully explores themes of identity, love, and the pursuit of personal happiness. Lady Mary's internal conflicts and external obstacles are relatable and thought-provoking, allowing readers to empathize with her desires and triumphs.

Fenn's writing style is elegant and eloquent, showcasing his mastery of the English language. His prose is both descriptive and lyrical, transporting readers to a bygone era with its own rules, customs, and hierarchies. The author's attention to detail brings the characters and settings to life, creating a vivid tapestry that captures the reader's imagination.

One aspect that truly stands out in By Birth a Lady is Fenn's ability to weave together historical accuracy and a compelling narrative. The historical context is impeccably researched and seamlessly integrated into the story, creating an immersive experience for readers. Fenn strikes a balance between historical authenticity and an engaging plot, ensuring that readers are entertained while also learning about the time period.

While the pacing can be slower at times, especially during detailed descriptions or conversations of societal conventions, the overall depth and complexity of the characters make up for it. By Birth a Lady is a novel that rewards patient readers, offering a deeply satisfying and emotionally resonant storyline.

In conclusion, By Birth a Lady by George Manville Fenn is an excellent work of historical fiction that transports readers to a captivating era filled with opulence, romance, and societal constraints. Lady Mary Woodruff's journey is one of self-discovery and resilience, set against a beautifully reconstructed backdrop of regency England. Fenn's meticulous attention to historical detail and his compelling storytelling make this novel a must-read for fans of historical fiction and anyone seeking a compelling tale of women defying societal expectations.

First Page:

Volume 1, Chapter I.


"He mustn't have so much corn, Joseph," said Mr Tiddson, parish doctor of Croppley Magna, addressing a grinning boy of sixteen, who, with his smock frock rolled up and twisted round his waist, was holding the bridle of a very thin, dejected looking pony, whose mane and tail seemed to have gone to the cushion maker's, leaving in their places a few strands that had missed the shears. The pony's eyes were half shut, and his nose hung low; but, as if attending to his master's words, one ear was twitched back, while the other pointed forward; and no sooner had his owner finished speaking than the poor little beast whinnied softly and shook its evidently remonstrating head. "He mustn't have so much corn, Joseph," said Mr Tiddson importantly. "He's growing wild and vicious, and it was as much as I could do this morning to hold him."

"What did he do, zir ?" said the boy, grinning a wider grin.

"Do, Joseph? He wanted to go after the hounds, and took the bit in his teeth, and kicked when they crossed the road. I shall have to diet him. Give him some water, Joseph, but no corn."

The poor pony might well shake his head, for it was a standing joke in Croppley that the doctor tried experiments on that pony: feeding him with chaff kept in an oaty bag, and keeping him low and grey hound like of rib, for the sake of speed when a union patient was ill... Continue reading book >>

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