British Fiction, 18001829

PORTER, Anna Maria. Honor O'Hara (1826)

Contemporary Reviews

La Belle Assemblée, 3rd ser. 4 (Dec 1826): 271.

In ‘Honor O’Hara, a Novel in three volumes, by Miss A. M. Porter,’ that lady has abandoned her usual style of writing, and in compliance with the wishes of her friends, has attempted a lighter species of composition—that of embodying the manners of fashionable life. The scene lies in Northumberland. Honor O’Hara, the heroine of the tale, is an orphan, who resides with her uncle, the rector of Edenfell, and his termagant wife, to the violence of whose temper she is constantly exposed. Yielding in beauty and fascination to no heroine of past or present times, she is a general favourite throughout the neighbourhood, particularly with Sir Everard Fitz-Arthur, the owner of the fine estate of Arthur’s Court. On the return of that gentleman’s eldest son, Captain Fitz-Arthur, from India, he immediately falls in love with Honor; who, in search of some ‘faultless monster which the world ne’er saw,’ remains most cruelly indifferent to all his virtues. The universal esteem in which Honor is held by the first families in the vicinity of Edenfell, excites the envy of Mrs. Shafto, the lady of an M. P., who, with five unmarried daughters, and an income of £5,000 a year, is jealous of any attention paid to her in preference to her own family: she therefore insinuates that Honor is actuated by mercenary motives. The pride of the latter is aroused, and when she receives a formal tender of Fitz-Arthur’s hand, she decidedly rejects it. No sooner is the decisive ‘no’ uttered, than she discovers that she is desperately in love with him; and after having rendered herself and Fitz-Arthur sufficiently miserable, having a fortune of £15,000 left to her, and having fully justified her character from the aspersions of Mrs. Shafto, she at length consents to their union. Such is the main plot of Honor O’Hara, subservient to which are no fewer than four minor love stories, all of which end in the marriage of the parties concerned. The work is written throughout in a light, playful, and amusing style; many of the characters are very sweetly drawn; and the interest is ably sustained unto the close.

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