Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron (A graphic novel)
Review: Lauren O’Connor-May
I discovered that graphic novels are a sneaky way to introduce my children to a broader array of literature since they will read almost any genre if it is a graphic novel.
Nevertheless, I was a little worried about my children reading this particular one because author Julia Quinn, of Bridgerton fame, doesn’t normally write PG13 stories.
I needn’t have worried though because Quinn’s usually sexy storylines were tamed for this book, which my children couldn’t wait to get their hands on.
My second eldest, 12, snuck it by me before I could vet it for inappropriate content. She finished it in under an hour and my third eldest, 10, immediately snapped it up after her.
My second eldest’s opinion: “The woman acts weird in there.”
Weird, how? “Just weird.”
On a subsequent rereading she said: “It’s not that weird actually.”
My third eldest said: “It’s weird.”
I suspect the “weirdness” was its over-the-top story arcs and mildly Gothic leanings.
The first half of the story takes many odd erratic turns – like a petulant toddler who badly needs a nap – and at some parts I wondered if the author was high when she wrote it.
In the end, all the oddly-shaped jigsaws do fit together into an interesting picture which I enjoyed.
Fans of the author would already be familiar with the story because it appears in five of Quinn’s books.
I first met Priscilla Butterworth when Hyacinth Bridgerton read the story to Mrs Danbury in It’s In His Kiss, book seven in the Bridgerton raunchy romance series.
The Bridgerton characters found the peril-prone heroine quite farcical, as this excerpt attests:
‘“I might add,” Lady D said with a sniff, “that you were most unkind last week, leaving off with poor Priscilla hanging from a cliff.”
“What are you reading?” Penelope asked.
“Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron,” Hyacinth replied. “And she wasn’t hanging. Yet.”
“Did you read ahead?” Lady D demanded.
“No,” Hyacinth said with a roll of her eyes. “But it’s not difficult to forecast. Miss Butterworth has already hung from a building and a tree.”
“And she is still living?” Penelope asked.
“I said hung, not hanged,” Hyacinth muttered. “More’s the pity.”’
As ridiculous as Priscilla Butterworth’s adventures are in the novel-within-novels, in the graphic novel they translate brilliantly and Quinn’s characteristic sarcasm adds the perfect garnish to this darkly comical, Gothic romance.
● If you want to see Adjoa Andoh, the actress who plays Lady Danbury in the Netflix series, read the above excerpt, visit https://juliaquinn.com/extras/adjoa-andoh-reading-from-its-in-his-kiss/