March 3, 2010

Bellfield Hall or the Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:16 pm by suebe2

Bellfield Hall or the Observations of Miss Dido Kent

by Anna Dean

Miss Dido Kent is many things — an observer of human kind, a loving maiden aunt, a sharp mind,  and a product of her time.  The last being the thing I loved/hated the most about this particular character, but more on that later.

Dido has been called to Bellfield Hall by her niece, Catherine.  It seems that immediately after the ball announcing Catherine’s engagement to Richard Montague, the young man tells her to break their engagement and then he leaves for parts unknown.  No one in his family seems particularly disturbed by his disappearance and Dido must work within the confines of polite Regency Society (date 1805) to find out what has happened and if it has any connection to the woman found dead in the garden.

Dido catches clues that the men miss simply because she is a woman and familiar with the world of a proper woman of her day and age.  That said, she misses just as much for exactly the same reason — I reality both she and I found incredibly frustrating.   Imagine being a detective who can be called away from the scene of the crime simply because your brother wants you to come sit with his wife.  But I also have to applaud the author for making the character true to her time.  How many of us have put aside a piece of historic fiction when a character is simply to liberated or some such for his or her time?

Set in the same era as the writing of Jane Austen, any young reader who already adores Austen should pick this book up.  Author Anna Dean does an excellent job working in period details, weaving them into an intricate plot peopled by characters of great depth and complexity.

This isn’t a quick read but it is absorbing and an astute reader may catch on to a few realities concerning the characters that Dido reports on but doesn’t entirely comprehend.

An excellent choice for an advanced reader who loves mysteries but doesn’t want the graphic content found in many adult mysteries.

–SueBE

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