Title: Passing Fancies
Author: Elizabeth Mansfield
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 217 pages
List Price: Out-of-print
Reviewed: July 19, 2009
Rating: 4 stars (4.4)
Synopsis: Lovely Lady Philippa Wyckfield gets drawn into any number of unfortunate situations due to her generous nature. Staying with friends she'd known since childhood, she manages to catch the eye of two of the brothers. One wrestles with his disgust of her supposed madcap nature while the other wrestles with his invisibility.
What I liked: I loved the characters with their varied idiosyncrasies. There is Lady Philippa (Pippa), whose generous nature lands her in more trouble than any normal human can handle; William, the stiffly proper head of the Sturtevant household and oldest child of Lady Georgina; Lady Georgina, air-headed, well-meaning mother and lady of the house; Simon, a scientist whose head is more often cloudy with his work than not; Sybil, only daughter and incorrigible madcap; and Dolly, the youngest son whose madness for horseflesh leads to at least one of the unfortunate situations I mentioned earlier. These characters are fleshed-out rather well despite the shortness of this book. Even the Oxbroughs, the lady and her son who are more or less the antagonists of the tale, have their quirks, making them more believable.
There was something I noticed with this book that struck me as interesting. It is written in third person omniscient. Perhaps this POV was more acceptable in 1983 when this book was written. From the research I've done in regard to publishing houses, this POV is not acceptable now. However, I feel Elizabeth Mansfield pulled it off rather well. While reading, I knew what was happening in each character's head, the POV switches were graceful and hardly noticeable. Considering this book is not a mystery in any way, I see no reason why we should not know what everyone is thinking.
The story was entertaining, light and fun. Love scenes were limited to kissing and even those were few and far between. I laughed more than once and at one point I thought I might cry. All that aside, this book is a good choice if you want a delightful, light read.