The Nabob's Daughter
The Nabob’s Daughter contains loads of snappy dialogue, a bit of exciting action, a hint of intrigue, and an assortment of characters who range from stereotypical to original. Perhaps the only real lack is romance, and this is what keeps this story from rising to the top.
The ever-so-proper and reputed woman-hater Lord Stone Chance has his hands full attempting to keep his young, volatile sister Georgiana in line. She has decided to marry a man whose motives Chance questions, and who has been shipped off by his family to Jamaica in the hope that he’ll make something of himself. That is hardly reassuring to Chance, a viscount constantly pursued by fortune hunters. Georgiana, however, is determined to join her beau in Jamaica at the first opportunity.
When Chance learns of the arrival of a new woman on the London scene, a common nabob’s daughter from Jamaica, he at first hopes to use her to discourage Georgy from her plan. Certainly hearing first-hand of the violent and primitive living conditions in that land will bring his soft and pampered sister to her senses. Unfortunately, Miss Anjalie Cantrell only further stimulates the young girl with her dark, exotic looks, her expensive Paris gowns, and her wild, free mannerisms.
Anjalie is unashamedly in love with her native Jamaica, and has nothing but thinly veiled contempt for England, its nobility, and its stifling social customs. She is also well aware that it is only her father’s vast wealth that keeps the members of the ton from shunning her, and she enjoys shocking them at every turn. Lord Chance is not amused by her behavior, yet he remains strangely fascinated. Anjalie finds it impossible to dislike Chance even as she detests everything he stands for. They are well matched in their strength of character and will, and the conflict keeping them apart is seemingly impossible to overcome.
There is a multitude of secondary characters, some of whom are largely stereotypical Regency stand-bys. The spoiled, willful sister, the spendthrift, ne’er-do-well heir, the various silly snobs of the ton, the sensible, serious commoner who has amassed his own wealth: they all play their parts and keep the plot moving at a brisk pace. Most are entertaining even if less than fresh.
The plot is fast-paced, and though many of the twists are easily foreseen, there are enough surprises to keep a reader interested. The dialogue is true Regency – rapid, sharp, and witty. It is clear that Ms. Lindsey has done her homework, and the pages are peppered with period slang. At times this is taken to the point of overkill, however, and some characters border on the ridiculous in their non-stop slinging of figures of speech.
The main disappointment lies in the failure to bring the various relationships to a rightful climax. The secondary characters vanish along the way, and the resolutions of their situations are eventually reported third-person in a way that leaches the emotion. The use of misunderstanding to prolong conflict is obvious, which could have been overlooked if the final denouement carried romantic punch. While Anjalie and Chance eventually do the expected thing, there is a leap to the union that leaves out much of the process of falling in love, and this denies the reader the satisfaction of experiencing it along with the characters.
Despite the spirited dialogue, interesting plot, and memorable characters, the lack of emotion in The Nabob’s Daughter makes it less than it could have been. It’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, but don’t put it at the top of your summer reading stack.