Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

A Class Act by Kate Lace

A Romeo and Juliet set-up with a class divide built in – he a council estate boy, she living in an over-taxed, under-heated stately home – A Class Act is already off to a fairy-tale-ish start.  Add in all kinds of improbable twists and turns (all of which could well, I suppose, happen in real life… but in such harmonious conjunction?) and you have a thoroughly over-the-top, and gloriously enjoyable, piece of escapism.

I must admit that, unlike Lace’s other novels, I found A Class Act hard to get into at first.  I am a bit allergic to yoof speak (although I have every sympathy for any author who has to portray a teenage boy), and it took a while for the characters to start growing on me.  In fact the heroine, Tilly, is a horrid little madam more or less throughout.    That she is so utterly irritating is a tribute to Lace’s powers of description.

But the characters (even Tilly) did grow on me, and in a little while I found myself hopelessly sucked in.  The charm of this book isn’t just in the beautifully convoluted plot, although that is a great deal of the fun, but also in Kate Lace’s eye for human fallibility, vice, egoism and plain old bad judgement.  There is something particularly appealing about a story in which Fate is not just kindly, but forgiving; and, paradoxically, something particularly realistic about characters who are motivated by love, but mess up anyway.

This is a short review, not because I have little to say, but because I can’t bring myself to give too much away.  Suffice it to say that I thoroughly recommend this, or indeed any of Lace’s books, to anyone looking for a good, old-fashioned love story.  Because for all the modern technology and gritty social realities, that is precisely what it is.

Little Black Dress, ISBN: 978 0 7553 4794 0

5 comments on “A Class Act by Kate Lace

  1. annebrooke
    November 27, 2010

    Sounds like just what I’m after – thanks, Kirsty! 🙂

  2. Nikki
    November 27, 2010

    Sounds like just the thing for a chilly night in front of the fire. Thanks, Kirsty!

  3. Jackie
    November 27, 2010

    Lace is one of those authors that prove things have to be written well, even if it’s Fluff. I’d like to see how this one turns out, though I’m wondering if Tilly would annoy me too much?
    Are those engagement rings on the cover? At first I thought they were bubbles, but now they look like diamond rings.

  4. Moira
    November 27, 2010

    I really love Kate Lace’s books. I know I’m going to be entertained without having to put all of my critical faculties on ‘hold’. This one sounds as if it’s well up to her usual high standard. Good-oh!

  5. Kate Lace
    December 7, 2010

    Just back from my hols in Cuba to find this – what a fab welcome home pressie! Thanks VL!

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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