The Pavlovas of Butterbrooke Breeze
by Adderly Harp

"His monocle so fogged over in his vexations that it took Giancarlo hours of spirited rubbings to clear it."

Sebastian Wentworth Greathead (pronounced grey-theed) is a promiscuous and flamboyant member of high society that often lets his heart or other organs get him into trouble. Communicating through letters with his dear aunt, the Countess Cordillia Honeyknob Pryme, records of the eccentricities and curious behaviors of these two are swapped with tender love, concern, some condescension, and a steady supply of double entendres. Sebastian gallivants across Europe entertaining lovers and potential career choices while Cordillia tends to her estate and deals with family, neighbors, and the help. Run-ins with international police and a curious doctor with an affection for the Countess lead to conflict that Sebastian and Cordillia must see to and resolve, despite always being far apart enough to necessitate postal correspondence. Still, at the end of the day, these two privileged individuals are focused on the things that matter: the Bavarian pavlova pastry, a citron pressé, and a discreet but entertaining romp with an able and willing partner.

While the tone of the letters in this book run frequently into that of the absurd and eccentric, it is precisely those two things that make for such rich satire. Rare is the occasion where one can say that the laughs begin as early as the quotes of praise preceding the story's first page, but that is entirely the case in this instance. Though it is handled with the grace and Wilde-like wit that one would expect from the era in which this story is set, reading between the lines produces a great number of tawdry and scandalous details. For that reason, readers of this book should have a more mature mindset, both to avoid being offended by the subject matter and to get the most out of every bit of wordplay. Even in this format with its indirect action and lack of present-tense dialogue, there is plenty to enjoy and laugh about with Dearest Basty and Auntie Cordi.

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