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Book Review: Penelope Goes to Portsmouth

Former servant Hannah Pym is off on her next adventure. This time she’s off to Portsmouth and as before she’s got an interest in playing matchmaker. This time she’s settled her sights on the sheltered Miss Penelope Wilkins and the impoverished, but oh so handsome, Lord Augustus Railton. But much to her chagrin, Penelope wants nothing to do with Augustus.

Worse, their journey is delayed when a footman from a nearby estate is accused of a horrible crime. A crime he insists he didn’t commit. Now Augustus, Penelope, and Hannah must hasten to save his life. While Hannah has to convince Penelope and Augustus to give each other a second chance.

I still adore Hannah Pym. She is the kind of character that sticks with you. She’s a romantic, yet also practical. She’s got flaws. She’s not perfect. I also found most of the other characters well-written. Particularly Augustus, Miss Trenton, and of course the titular Penelope. Augustus, the hero, is a dilettante. A down on his luck wastrel Lord who’s journeying to Portsmouth to wheedle money out of an elderly relative. In a lot of other books, he’d be a side character or the antagonist. Here, he’s not. There’s depth to him. Miss Trenton is a spinster like Hannah however unlike Hannah she’s fairly uncharitable; she spends much of the journey pretending that she is a lady of quality when she’s got her own secrets. As for Penelope she’s got her head in the clouds, is annoyingly naïve, and honestly kind of a twit. I didn’t like her. Even at the end of the story I didn’t like her. Which isn’t saying that she isn’t well-written, she is. But I’m not fond of overly idealistic as a character trait.

I mean I didn’t like Miss Trenton either but at least her dislike was earned through her characterization not because she was a twit. There’s also the addition of three new characters who I suspect will be playing a larger role in future books, one in particular, or if they aren’t the set up that’s been made for them is a giant dropped thread. But this is definitely an odd sort of romance. Romance itself was sort of secondary and I found myself agreeing with one of the antagonists. I had a hard time buying the romance between Augustus and Penelope. Oh I like the primary story but the romance wasn’t it. I was here for the plot to save the footman and also Hannah’s continued adventures.

But because this is a Romance and the romance needs to be central to the plot. I have to drop this book to Four stars

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