This book is more adeptly and enjoyably written than the majority of recent works exploring middle-class Regency romances from an Austen-esque perspective. It most closely resembles Pride and Prejudice, with flavorful dashes of Sense and Sensibility and even, in some details, Persuasion, thrown in.
The author aims for stingingly witty parlor repartee enhanced with trenchant social observation; I would say he succeeds in the former more or less most of the time, although several exchanges late in the book between Caroline Fortune and her love-interest grow a bit forced in their unflagging attempts at humor.
I give the author major points for a leading man that is, at least in personality and speech (though not in the expected familial pedigree and level of solvency), quite enjoyably different from most other contemporary authors' Darcy-type love interests. And Caroline herself is well-developed as a character.
The author tries to differentiate several secondary characters--Uncle John, Mr Downey, Mrs Catling, Miss Downey, and Mr Leabrook--from their nearest Austen counterparts Mr Collins (P&P); Lady Catherine (P&P); Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park), and Mr Crawford (MP)/Mr Wickham (P&P), respectively. Surprisingly, he largely succeeds; each of Morgan's characters is just different enough to pass for distinctive--for example, Morgan's Mr. Downey shares Mr Collins' slavish devotion to an aging benefactress, but while the latter is the pompous, self-deluded comic relief, the former is characterized as variously good natured and moodily intense, with mercurial fits of anger and despair.
I have two problems with this novel, but they by no means overshadow the book's overall excellence: First, the several present-tense passages Morgan inserts, bizarrely, into scenes throughout the book. This is not only confusing in that it interrupts the flow of the scenes both plot-wise and stylistically, but is self-conscisouly "literary" to an unacceptable degree. Thankfully, the reader runs into such passages only half a dozen times throughout the work.
Secondly and more importantly, I feel the resolution of Caroline's romantic attachment--which has been built up incrementally with skillful intensity over the narrative's course--is painfully, almost absurdly brief, given the fact that this is a romantic comedy. Both elements of this genre must be balanced, as Austen demonstrates so well in P&P and Persuasion, two novels that are comedic throughout but linger appropriately--in final chapters--on the romantic denoument, with the heroine and her love interest given several pages to reflect on their past prejudices and current attachments. In contrast, Morgan's lovers are given short shrift: less than two pages (the last ones) over which they come to a hurried understanding, and these pages on the tail-end of a breathless, multiple-chapter expedition involving a runaway seducer and seducee, an undercover sting, and a wrap-up scene with Mr Downey that resolves several other plot points in a page or two.
This book's level of quality--and the level of enjoyment it engenders in its readers--really deserves a more carefully crafted and satisfying ending. However, do not let that stop you from picking up Indiscretion.
If you love Jane Austen-style Regency rom-coms but have been disappointed with some of the recent entries in the genre, look no further.