Heather King‘s delightful book, A Sense of the Ridiculous, tells the story of Jocasta, a squire’s daughter who begins the novel disappointed in the calibre of her suitors. Surely somewhere, she thinks, there must be someone who laughs at the same things she does?
Jocasta is also beset by a great aunt who disapproves of Jocasta’s hoydenish ways. After a week of lectures on her behaviour, Jocasta has had enough. She breaks out, and meets with disaster, thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious.
Enter our hero Richard, the son of an inkeeper, who is surprised to discover that the unconscious boy he takes home is actually a rather lovely girl.
The happy ending was never in doubt (to the reader; the protagonists had a few nasty moments). But the journey is great! King adds some fun twists and turns along the way: amnesia, a brother who sees his search for his missing sister as a fine opportunity for attending sporting events, a robbery that threatens to derail the hero’s courtship.
King writes characters with depth: Richard and Jocasta are finely drawn, and the supporting cast also come to life on the page. I particularly liked the brother, and hope to see him in a future novel. He has some growing up to do in order to find his own happy ending, and that should be fun to read.
The dialogue sparkles, particularly the exchanges between Richard and Jocasta, where they share their sense of the ridiculous. All in all, a great read. I recommend it.