The Hollow, Part 1: Lucinda by John Scudamore
I received a copy of The Hollow to review for The Historical Novel Society Online. I generally choose books that might interest me when the selection list goes around, and this one was described as an Austen-like romance with timeslip elements. I though, I like timetravel fiction. I like Austen. I’ll choose that one as one of my possibilities.
When it arrived, I was duly intrigued by the cover and the back blurb. I started reading it right away.
While not perfect, I was pleasantly surprised by the novel and found myself absorbed by the Scudamore’s treatment of female sexuality. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
If I had to describe this book in one sentence, this is what I would say: It’s a Regency Romance that is more Sarah Waters than Jane Austen.
It’s not perfect, there are anachronisms in the language and description, but the dialog is interesting and raises all kinds of thoughts about female self-discovery for all its lack of perfect, Regency polish.
The narrative follows the sexual awakening of Celia and Lucy, cousins and friends learning how to navigate the strictures that society places on ladies of good breeding. Joined by Alice, Celia’s faithful and knowledgeable maid, these two begin to learn about all those things that make them “tingle”.
That’s one side of the story… The other side involves the Hollow, a place of evil according to local legend, and the arrival of Manfred–a perfectly ordinary twenty-first century physicist who suddenly finds himself transported to Regency England.
Manfred stirs up plenty of trouble in his ignorance of Regency manners, but his involvement in the plot almost seems like an afterthought. That said, I haven’t read the next two books in the trilogy, so I can’t be sure how his part will evolve in the series, but I was much more intrigued by the relationship between Celia, Alice, and Lucy before Manfred became involved in their affair.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. This is an independently published novel; there were a few typographical errors, but these were few and far between, so they weren’t distracting. I think this might be more appealing to fans of Sarah Waters and Diana Gabaldon than Austen (there is plenty of steamy, feminine romance).
You can find The Hollow, Part 1 at The Book Depository.