Victoria and the Rogue – Meg Cabot
Macmillan Children’s Books, 2003
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Why do authors of Young Adult regency novels so often portray their heroines as fawning & ridiculous girls that have no clue when it comes to real life? Maybe I am too demanding when it comes to Young Adult books. What if I am mistaken in what kind of character development a teenager can take? Then again, I never really got annoyed at characters from other YA book: Mia from the Princess Diaries or Georgia Nicholson. It’s true, they are often pretty silly and complaining, but yet remain funny. Somehow, combine those kinds of characteristics with an historical setting and the characters get turned into girls that only care for the height at which gentlemen wear their collar points, or who they’re going to marry when. Maybe it’s because it combines the supposed silliness of all teenagers with the more serious demands of historical periods (no flings, but marriage) that makes these books so aggravating for me to read. Especially because writers from the period themselves don’t portray their woman as one-sided giggling girls. What is wrong with a little character building in a novel, even if it is a young adult one? It’s not as though teenagers lack a brain entirely.
Maybe I’m a little harsh, but reading Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot (from the Princess Diaries series) really annoyed me to no end. I like the Princess Diaries series and I love regency novels, so what could go wrong? Everything, apparently.
As mentioned above, there is nothing intriguing about the characters involved, except when the author states that a certain gentleman is ‘very interesting’. You can see where the plot is going from miles off. And worst of all, having read Nicola and the Viscount a year before, it all seemed a little too similar, or if you compare the plots, exactly the same with a few little differences and a change in character names. A girl (Victoria in this case, Nicola in the other) who doesn’t have her own parents to look after her gets an offer of marriage from a gentleman (Lord Malfrey, or Lord Sebastian Bartholomew). Another gentleman (Captain Carstairs, or Nathaniel Sheridan) who is close to the leading lady tries to convince her that the gentleman in question is bad. Who should she trust? I’ll leave out the outcome of the plot, since I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who yet wants to read it. I’ll just say: wow, escape through a window, instead of jumping from a roof, quelle surprise.
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