Enter the Hero
The dramatic works penned by Irish spinster Emily Fairfax are produced in London under the name Edgar St. John. Forced to meet English politician Lucius Ashford in a duel, she finds herself unmasked, and discovers that the gentleman whose exploits she has long admired from afar is in fact an avowed opponent of dueling. When she and her eccentric and precocious young sibling Letty visit their married sister in London, they encounter Lucius, secretly lampooned by Emily in her latest play. Her failed attempt to revise the work prior to production—to reflect her increasing respect for the gentleman—only leads to more trouble. Exposure of her authorship imperils both their reputations.
Flashes of cleverness and amusing banter are welcome, but the hero of the tale is significantly overshadowed by the heroine’s vitality, and their relationship is not well served by the plot. Letty Fairfax becomes a tiresome anomaly, an unlikely participant in the social scene in which her elder sisters figure. A commonplace depiction of London high life is countered by a reasonably accurate presentation of theatrical world, peopled with eccentric, money-grubbing managers and actors.