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Black Sheep – Georgette Heyer

Black Sheep – Georgette Heyer

I think I have read this before, but it would have been sometime ago. I listened to the audio version, which was very lovely.

Here’s the blurb …

The novel is set in Bath, Somerset and centres on two main characters: Miss Abigail Wendover and Mr Miles Calverleigh.

At the beginning of the novel, Abigail’s niece Fanny claims to have formed a mutual “lasting attachment” with Stacey Calverleigh, to Abigail’s dismay. Stacey is reputed to be a “gamester”, a “loose fish”, and a “gazetted fortune-hunter”—that is, he has a gambling habit, is a libertine, and is on the look-out for a wealthy marriage. Abigail enlists the assistance of Stacey’s cousin, Miles Calverleigh, to prevent a clandestine marriage between Stacey and Fanny. Miles is the black sheep of the Calverleigh family, but Abigail finds herself attracted to his wit and unconventionality.

This was published in 1966, which must have been at the end of Heyer’s writing career. It has (what became a bit of a thing for her) a flighty young heroine and a mature one (mature being in her late twenties!). The relationship between Abigail and Miles is beautifully portrayed. We know early on he is keen on her, and they have a lovely friendship. It reminds me a bit of the relationship in the The Unknown Ajax.

This novel has all of things I love about Heyer; fashion, wit, weird regency slang and independent heroines. There are a few things that date it a bit; the name Fanny for one. There is a conversation between Abigail and Miles where they discuss ‘her poor dear fanny’. Making your fortune in India is probably frowned upon nowadays, and she does describe a singer wobbling like a blancmange.

I love how Stacey Calverleigh is routed horse, foot and artillery so to speak.

A review.

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The Nonesuch – Georgette Heyer

The Nonesuch – Georgette Heyer

I love a good regency romance and Georgette Heyer is one of the best.

Here is a link to my book review blog with a review of The Nonesuch.

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Frederica – Georgette Heyer

Frederica - Georgette Heyer

Frederica – Georgette Heyer

I like Georgette Heyer novels (here is one I read earlier and here). They’re fun and a quick read and obviously well-researched. However, sometimes that research can get in the way – all of those regency expressions can get annoying.

Here is what Georgette Heyer wrote to her publisher about Fredrica …

Where was I? Oh, yes! DRIP FOR THE TRADE! Here you are! This book, written in Miss Heyer’s lightest vein, is the story of the adventures in Regency London of the Merriville family: Frederica, riding the whirlwind and directing the storm; Harry, rusticated from Oxford, and embarking with enthusiasm on the more perilous amusements pursued by young gentleman of the ton; the divine Charis, too tenderhearted to discourage the advances of her numerous suiters; Jessamy, destined for the church, and wavering, in adolescent style, between excessive virtue and a natural exuberance of spirits; and Felix, a schoolboy with a passion for scientific experiment. In Frederica, Miss Heyer has created one of her most engaging heroines, and in the Marquis of Alverstoke, a bored cynic who becomes involved in all the imbroglios of a lively family, a hero whose sense of humour makes him an excellent foil for Frederica.

The Private World of Georgette Heyer – Jane Aiken Hodge

Lord Alverstoke is definitely a Mark 11 hero – Suave, well-dressed, rich and a famous whip. The Merrivilles are a distant connection and when Frederica asks him to help her launch Charis into the world of the ton he agrees to help because it will annoy his sisters. He is bored with his life – all of those people ‘toadying’ and find the Merriville’s refreshing. He rescues them all from many scrapes (some very contrived) and a long the way falls in love with Frederica (because she, of course, hasn’t tried to attract his attention).

This book is full of regency detail – clothes, carriages, social life, medical treatment, which make it an interesting read. I can’t think of anyone else who writes regency romances like Georgette Heyer.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say lovers of Austen will also like Heyer, but I am sure there is a substantial intersection.

More reviews …




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