Bleak House - Historical Romance Series
Historical Romance Review:
Fantastic, a masterful thriller that would put any soap opera to shame! Once I settled into the first few episodes of Bleak House and gathered my bearings of characters and connections I fell in love with this series. From the outset there are declarations of love, great mystery and a dark aura of adventure. The central plot of the story revolves around a long standing lawsuit with a number of characters being eligible for a large sum of money.
A magnificent cast adds to the brilliant screenplay. This is a classic good vs evil tale and the spectrum of characters reflects this. Fresh-faced young lovers shine beside the heart-broken and wretched, wicked villians meet their match as they are challenged by their virtuous counterparts. Quirky and vivid characters are named aptly; Smallweed - the malignant moneylender, Tulkinghorn - a an unscrupulous scheming lawyer, Miss Flite - an eccentric old lady who will release her many birds 'on the day of judgement' and Prince Turveytop - a dedicated dancing master. My favourite character is the narrator of our story, Esther Summerson, who brought me to tears more than once.
Anna Maxwell Martin plays Esther with conviction and sensitivity. Gillian Sloane slips into the character of Lady Dedlock like a brittle and beautiful glove. Charles Dance as Mr Tulkinghorn is an intimidating presence with a sinister look that could raise the dead. Krook, a rag and bottle merchant with a passion for gin and legal documents is a pivotal character in the the story. Could his sidekick, Lady Jane, a fluffy grey cat talk, the mystery may have been solved a great deal sooner and we would have missed hours of engrossing entertainment.
Esther Summerson, an unwanted and unloved orphan with an optimistic and pragmatic outlook on life arrives at Bleak House on the request of John Jarndyce, her guardian and owner of the house. Mr Jarndyce is also the guardian of Ada Clare and Richard Carston, cousins and beneficiaries of wills that have long been in dispute. This legal case Jarndyce and Jarndyce also involves their guardian, John, however he views the litigation as a curse and begs the two young people not too pin their hopes on the outcome.
The three young people form a strong friendship and Ada and Richard fall in love. John tries to encourage Richard to find a profession and make a life for himself however Richard is more interested in trying to obtain what he believes is his rightful inheritance. Esther finds happiness at Bleak House but cannot free her mind of the question of her paternity.
While visiting a friend of John Jarndyce, Ada and Esther meet the beautiful and sad Lady Dedlock. Married to a much older man, rich and of aristocracy, Lady Dedlock is bored and has resigned herself to be nothing other than a dutiful wife. The ruthless family lawyer, Tulkinghorn, believes Lady Dedlock is hiding a deep, dark secret and makes it his purpose to delve into her past. He finds a connection between Esther and Lady Dedlock however uses blackmail to stop it being revealed.
The truth is never far away however with every step closer there is a step back...