Classy throwback

I wonder how Lulu Taylor's publishers, PanMacmillan, went about promoting her novel, Winter Folly? She appears to be best-known for her racy romances, so presumably this was promoted as a romance, which to a certain extent it is, but really Winter Folly has its roots in a much earlier genre; it's a classy throwback to the "woman in danger" novel, and could easily have been written by a mistress of the genre such as Mary Stewart or M.M. Kaye. It's got everything that's required - hunky hero, beautiful heroine, dark family secrets, the odd exotic location, and a potential interloper trying to lure the heroine away from the path of good.

This makes it all sound horribly cliched, but actually it's a crackingly good read. If the denouement comes about through a coincidence that sounds rather unlikely, it doesn't really matter, as you'll already have been completely swept away by Ms Taylor's gripping plot. Moving easily between bohemian and upper-crust society in the 1960s and the present day, Winter Folly is a gripping read. It kept me glued to its pages, only being dragged out to walk the dog. Yes, sometimes the characterisation is a bit wooden - as can be some of the dialogue, there's the odd infelicity (does the author really need to explain what a microfilm viewer is?), but this is more than compensated for by a strong storyline, some great plot twists, and a house that appears to have as much character as Daphne du Maurier's Manderley.

It's been really good to see the woman-in-danger novel given a twist and brought into the twenty-first century. Great fun.


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