My Fair Gent

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3.00 · 1 ratings · Published: May 13th, 2014 {{ book.ratingTitle }}
Henrietta Hilliard, phonetics teacher and noted suffragette, spends her days in London’s markets, researching minute variations in the locals’ speech. When Edgar Dooley, an unkempt costermonger from Covent Garden, asks her for lessons in “how to talk posh,” she confidently bets that she can pass him off as a Duke at the Embassy Ball. The results of the ambitious experiment will surprise them both.

What happens to Shaw’s “Pygmalion” storyline when the genders are reversed? That’s the question I take up in this tribute to Shaw’s classic play. Early in the book, Henrietta Hilliard (in a rare moment of self-doubt) asks whether she is too domineering and unfeminine to be lovable. And by accepting the role of student, and acknowledging the power that Hetty’s superior education, wealth and class confer, Edgar forfeits the traditional trappings of the male romantic hero. Can there still be magic between these two? You be the judge.

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