This is Heyer’s second published novel. Published in 1923 (and again in 1930 minus the last chapter). It set in the Georgian period, so there is lots of mentions of wigs, swords, lace and high heels (for men).
Here’s the blurb …
Cleone Charteris’s exquisite charms have made her the belle of the English countryside. But Cleone yearns for a husband who is refined, aristocratic and who is as skilled with his wit as he is with his dueling pistols…. Everything Philip Jettan is not. As much as she is attracted to the handsome squire, Cleone finds herself dismissing Philip and his rough mannerisms.
With his father’s encouragement, Philip departs for the courts of Paris, determined to acquire the social graces and the airs of the genteel — and convince Cleone that he is the man most suited for her hand. But his transformation may cost him everything, including Cleone….
This was shorter than what I expect from a Georgette Heyer novel. This is definitely not her best work – the hero is delightful, the heroine not so delightful, but there was a witty, wise older lady and lots of mentions of tight coats and stockings with clocks. The things that delight me about Heyer’s novels – the wit, the meticulous research, etc, are present in this novel in an early form. However, I don’t think this novel works for a modern audience – there’s a bit too much ‘women want to be mastered by men’ for my liking. There was also a lot of untranslated french (I have been learning French, so I was fine).
My summer of Heyer has begun. My plan is to read the novels (just the romance ones) in publication order. First up – The Black Moth (first published in 1921).
Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that there is a still from an Emma adaptation on the cover?
Anyway, this novel is set in the 1750s, so Georgian and not regency. It has many of the characteristics that would later define a Heyer novel; attention to detail, impeccable research, witty dialogue and strong independent heroines. However, she definitely improved with time. This one feels a bit flabby and I think it could do with some editing. Also, I am probably not a fan of Georgian fashion – all of those wigs! Although I do like an embroidered waistcoat and stockings with clocks!
Diana Beauleigh is caught between two men. Seven long years ago, Jack Carstares, the Earl of Wyncham, sacrificed his honour for his brother and has been in exile ever since.
Returning to England, Jack pretends to be a gentleman named Sir Anthony Ferndale but makes his living in a most ungentlemanly fashion, as a highwayman and a gambler.
When Jack encounters his nemesis, the Duke of Andover, in the midst of kidnapping Diana Beauleigh, the two old enemies come to blows.
Can Jack save the beautiful Diana from rakes, kidnap and ruin.?
This was lots of fun, probably not my favourite Heyer novel, but I am glad I read it. Next up Powder and Patch. I am looking forward to reading These Old Shades where ‘the black moth’is redeemed (although I think he is re-named).
I love Georgette Heyer’s regency romances and this might be my favourite one.
Here’s the blurb …
Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by elderly Lord Darracott. Irascible Lord Darracott rules his barony with a firm hand. The tragic accident that killed his eldest son by drowning has done nothing to improve his temper. For now, he must send for the next heir apparent–the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family is never permitted to mention. He also summons his bickering descendants to the rundown family estate. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver’s brat and heir apparent…
This was a lot of fun with all of the usual Heyerisms – lots of cant terms, silly young man, sensible (not to mention wealthy) slightly older man, a bit of action and amazing historical research. And the ending is particularly clever and inventive.
Here’s a fabulous article from Jennifer Kloester (she wrote a biography of Heyer).
I do like a good regency romance and no one does it better than Georgette Heyer. A friend mentioned that had recently read this one, and I thought I must re-read it.
Here’s the blurb …
At the age of five-and-thirty, Sir Waldo Hawkridge, wealthy, handsome, eligible, illustrious, and known as the nonesuch for his athletic prowess, and when he comes north to inspect his unusual inheritance at Broom hall in the West Riding, his arrival leads to the most entertaining of ramifications. When they learned that Sir Waldo was coming, the village gentry were thrown into a flurry. The famed sportsman himself! Heir to an uncounted fortune, and a leader of London society! The local youths idolized “the Nonesuch”; the fathers disapproved; and the mothers and daughters saw him as the most eligible–and elusive–man in the kingdom.
While there, he meets Tiffany Wield, a positively dazzling young heiress who is entirely selfish and possessed of a frightful temper, as well as her far more elegant companion-governess. Twenty-eight year old Ancilla Trent had put away any and all thoughts of romance when she became a governess, and at first she could only be amused at the fuss over Sir Waldo. Can Sir Waldo convince the practical Miss Trent that it is not above her station as a governess to fall in love with him?
This is one of her novels where the heroine is a bit older (26 as opposed to 18) and sensible, which I prefer to the young flighty heroines. It has all the things that makes a Heyer novel so good; regency slang, beautiful heiresses, worried mothers, and beautiful manners.
I do like Georgette Heyer regency romance novels and when a friend told me A Civil Contract was her favourite – well I had to read it. I found it really hard to find a copy, in the end I found an eBook at Booktopia and I read it on my Ipad.
Here’s the blurb …
Adam Deveril is one of the Duke of Wellington’s captains, and a hero at Salamanca. When his father, a crony of Prince Regent, is killed in the hunting field, Adam becomes the 6th Viscount Lynton of Fontley Priory, Lincolnshire. But he returns from the Peninsular War to find his magnificent home in disrepair and his family on the brink of ruin, with the broad acres of his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. He is madly in love with the beautiful Julia Oversley but soon realises that the drastic measure of a marriage of convenience is the only answer. Enter Mr Jonathan Chawleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth with no social ambitions for himself, but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his one and only daughter, the quiet and decidedly plain Jenny Chawleigh. A marriage is arranged.
Adam chafes under Mr. Chawleigh’s generosity, and Julia’s jealous behavior upon hearing of the betrothal nearly brings them all into a scandal. But Adam didn’t reckon with the Jenny nobody knew, or the unknown quality that lay hidden behind her demure and plain facade, who bring him comfort and eventually more…
I do like a romance novel where the heroine is plain and unassuming. This is classic Heyer; well-researched, lots of cant terms. I was a little bit disappointed in the ending when Jenny realises that she is not going to inspire in Adam the same passion he felt for Julia.
Here are Jennifer Kloester’s thoughts on it (she wrote Georgette Heyer’s Regency World)
This is another of my Rottnest reads. I like Georgette Heyer and I thought I had read all of her regency romances, but I hadn’t read this one. I found it for $5 at Target (about the cost of a coffee).
Here’s the blurb
With her high-spirited intelligence and good looks, Abigail Wendover was a most sought-after young woman. But of all her high-placed suitors, there was none Abigail could love. Abigail was kept busy when her pretty and naive niece Fanny falls head over heels in love with Stacy Calverleigh, a good-looking town-beau of shocking reputation and an acknowledged seductor. She was determined to prevent her high-spirited niece from becoming involved with the handsome fortune-hunter. The arrival to Bath of Stacy’s uncle seemed to indicate an ally, but Miles Calverleigh is the black sheep of the family.
Miles Calverleigh had no regard for the polite conventions of Regency society. His cynicism, his morals, his manners appalled Abigail. He also turned out to be the most provoking creature Abigail had ever met – with a disconcerting ability to throw her into giggles at quite the wrong moment. Will Abigail overcome Mile’s indifference towards his nephew and help Abigail foil Stacy’s plans?
This is fun, all set in Bath, lots of talk of clothes (or at least the fabric to make clothes) and Bath society (going to the Pump Room, excursions to Wells Cathedral, concerts, etc.)