The blurb writer was confused; this is not a Gothic, but a regency. However, it does briefly turn into a Gothic for about ten pages toward the end, so I see how that could happen. I too struggled to categorize it, as, unsurprisingly considering the author, it's hard to categorize. It has the plot but not the substance of a romance; the heroine only displays brief flickers of romantic feelings for the hero, and they don't interact much. It's mostly a comedy with a lunatic excess of plot, about half of which is crammed into the last twenty pages.

The time is 1815. The heroine is Philadelphia "Delphie" Carteret, music teacher and caretaker for her sick and periodically delusional mother. The plot begins when she goes to some long-lost relatives to hit them up for money to take care of her mom, accompanied by her madcap neighbor Jenny. The relatives own a castle with a moat, into which Jenny cunningly flings herself and pretends to be drowning so the hero, Gareth Penistone, will (reluctantly) rescue her and ensconce her and Delphie at the castle, over the objections of cousin Mordred. Once ensconced, Delphie is astounded to find that the family thinks she's an imposter, because someone named Elaine has been claiming to be the Carteret daughter for the last twenty years.

This lunatic farrago of wackiness plus semi-random Arthurian references (there is also a notorious and deceased ancestor named Lancelot, and ten peppy children who all have Arthurian names) is completely typical of Joan Aiken. So are the funny names. I do not for a second believe that she was unaware of the implications of a hero named Penistone (yes, I know it's a village in Yorkshire), especially given this line of dialogue: "I don't like these angry voices and all this talk of Bollington and Penistone!"

Though a series of ridiculous events, Delphie fake-marries Gareth Penistone; needless to say, the fake marriage turns out to be real, to everyone's dismay. The ten Arthurian kids tend to a languid poet in debtor's prison, the hero poisons a sick mouse he's supposed to be nursing back to health, Mordred lives up to his name (name a kid Mordred, and you deserve what you get), and the last chapter consists of long blocks of text in which characters madly explain who secretly married who and why the impersonation-- all of which was so convoluted that I did not even try to follow it.

Funny, fluffy, utterly absurd. If it sounds fun, you will enjoy it. Some animals are collateral damage of villainous plotting.

Only $3.99 for the ebook on Amazon: The Five-Minute Marriage

Amazon has a number of similarly priced Aiken books on Kindle. Grab 'em if you want 'em!

If any of the people who wanted this book from me would rather have it in hard copy, I'll send my copy to the first who comments for Paypaled postage.
sovay: (Sydney Carton)

From: [personal profile] sovay


This lunatic farrago of wackiness plus semi-random Arthurian references (there is also a notorious and deceased ancestor named Lancelot, and ten peppy children who all have Arthurian names) is completely typical of Joan Aiken.

That does make it sound appealing.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass


"I don't like these angry voices and all this talk of Bollington and Penistone!"

*snicker* She gets points for that. I don't think I'll read this (it sounds like too much animal harm for me) but your review is entertaining.
rosefox: An anime-style boy saying "ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME MEME ME pick me". (volunteer)

From: [personal profile] rosefox


I'll send my copy to the first who comments for Paypaled postage.

*points to userpic*
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

From: [personal profile] lilacsigil


This sounds very, very Aiken, especially the ten peppy Arthurian children! Penistone, lol forever.
orcofnewyork: (Default)

From: [personal profile] orcofnewyork


I just re-read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase this week and I am so ready to read more Aiken high jinks! This sounds like it'd be right up my alley!
nenya_kanadka: its purely carnal qualities outweighed its metaphorical significance (@ carnal qualities)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka


LOL, amazing. :D Glad you read this one and let us in on it. Hee.

Penistone!
.

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