This radiant collection of short stories features a set of flawed yet sympathetic women in a whole mess of compromising positions.
To marry their daughters off, four social-climbing men in 1790s London hatch a plot: Buy a pianoforte (the au courant instrument of the late 18th century) and have them give a concert that will have noblemen lined up for their hands in marriage.
The ladies are as varied as their fathers are ambitious: emaciated Georgiana; Everina with her unfortunate false teeth; mysterious Alathea; and the Brass sisters, practical Harriet and lumpy Marianne.
Washington, D.C., is a city of paradoxes. It teems with ambitious career-climbers, yet maintains a laid-back Southern vibe. The federal government is based here, yet local residents have no vote in Congress. People are keenly aware of the power of schmoozing, yet parties end by 11 p.m., and the streets are deserted by midnight.No one had a better vantage point from which to observe the unique...