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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
J. F. Collen pens a romantic historical drama in Flirtation on the Hudson. Love is in the air on the shores of the Hudson River near New York City. Young Cornelia Rose is coming of age. Nellie is the daughter of a successful Irish father and a devout German Catholic mother. In her pursuit of a suitable husband, the attractive, yet unconventional Nellie plays her suitors against each other. She plays at love, creating a love triangle between the southern charm and northern gallantry of her gentlemen callers. Yet, there is more to young flirtatious and capricious Cornelia; she has a lust for life often challenging tradition to the chagrin of her parents. No one will decide the course of Cornelia’s life; the choice of a husband will be hers alone.
Flirtation on the Hudson by J. F. Collen is a love triangle of passion, aspiration, and tradition. During the 1850s, the practice of flirting was expected as a part of the courting ritual. Yet, these seemingly innocent amorous antics produced moral dilemmas as real as today. The heart is equally smitten and broken when you play at love. The heroine of the story is nestled in between a serious older sister and a fun-loving younger one. The influences of her family play a vital role in the growth of her character. Cornelia Rose is reckless and naïve, feisty and flirtatious, a rebel and a romantic. One moment she desires to be a midwife, the next in the theater! Yet, she is bold and intelligent in her pursuit of knowledge and local history, making her a brilliant conversationalist. These conflicting attributes make her an interesting, (humorously frustrating at times), dynamic character.
The narrative is well researched, the history of New York, the Knickerbockers, and West Point are delicately and accurately weaved in the plot. The dialogues convey the proper language of the era, and the varying dialects add an element of realism. One of the aspects of Collen’s writing I found enjoyable was the clever use of contemporary phrases in the chapter titles. J. F. Collen leaves the reader anticipating a sequel. Flirtation on the Hudson portrays the life of a young heroine and concludes with her on the threshold of a promising future. What happens next for Cornelia Rose? We will just have to wait and see.