Mrs Armytage is a widowed landowner, spirited, independent and very much used to having her own way and exercising total dominance over her family. She is acutely aware of social distinctions, proud of her power and prestige, and stands on her dignity to the point of becoming cold, judgemental and aloof. Her character flaws bring her into conflict with her children when her son Arthur announces his choice of a wife who is very much below their rank, and much will happen before Mrs Armytage learns to repent her behaviour. Mrs Catherine Gore was foremost among the writers of 'Silver Fork' or 'fashionable' novels, hugely popular in the early 1800s, which chronicle the romances and scandals of the upper classes during the Regency period. Her writing drew criticism from her contemporaries for being rather superficial, but even her critics acknowledged her often brilliant characterisation and gift for satire. In the present day, when Regency romances have become so popular, Mrs Gore is long overdue for a revival, and 'Mrs Armytage', one of her best works, offers rich rewards to the reader. ( Helen Taylor) **IMPORTANT NOTE:** There are a considerable number of inconsistencies in the chapter numbering of the print version of this book (particularly in volume 3). The chapter numbers for the audiobook have been retained as they appear in print.
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