Beware of spoilers!
What I learned from this book (in no particular order) :
1. Italians are excitable, dedicated to the opera, and most likely to be involved with organized crime.
2. Beware of fat, jolly Italian counts with submissive wives and fondness of white mice and canaries.
3. Watch out if your newly wed husband lives in a stately pile with an abandoned wing full of creepy Elizabethan furniture. If the said ancestral house is surrounded by dark ponds and eerie woods, expect the worst.
4. A Baronet is not always noble, and his impressive manor and estate might be mortgaged to the hilt. Instead of being the lady of the house, you might be forced to pay HIS debts. Make sure that the marriage settlement is settled in your favor before marrying.
5. Never marry for convenience or enter into any legal agreement when you are:
a. under age;
b. sentimental and easily persuadable;
c. prone to swooning and fainting.
6. Intelligent, resourceful women are likely to be mannish, and even actually HAVE a mustache, but are strong and have good figures. They can also be relied on to provide intelligent conversation when your beautiful but fragile wives are too busy swooning.
7. Shutting yourself up in a medieval vestry full of combustible materials with a candle for lighting is NOT advisable. Always have your minions do the dirty work.
8. Being ‘feeble in mind’ is enough reason to get you committed into an asylum for the mentally ill. So is knowing some secret that you might accidentally blurt out to strangers.
9. You CAN marry someone who is legally dead. Nobody bothered to check the civil registry records in those good old days.
10. A ménage a trois is fun, but you have to marry at least ONE of them first to preserve Victorian propriety.
Lately, I have received several personal messages that accused me, based on point#1 in my review above, of being prejudiced toward Italians —- something which couldn't be further from the truth. For those who hold such view, I would like to point out that my review is a parody which involves humorous, satiric or ironic imitations of the plot, characters or point of views set forth in the novel.The "This is what I learned" heading is a part of the whole exercise, and does not mean that I personally subscribe to the points enumerated therein. Obviously, I don't believe that "intelligent, resourceful women are likely to be mannish, and even actually HAVE a mustache" (point 6) or that "being ‘feeble in mind’ is enough reason to get you committed into an asylum for the mentally ill" (point 8) —- just as I don't believe that "Italians are excitable, dedicated to the opera, and most likely to be involved with organized crime".
I'm aware that my sense of humor is not to everyone's taste, but it has never been my intention to denigrate Italians or any other ethnic groups in this review (or any other review of mine).
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