... and strangle the hero.
I love all of Georgette Heyer's books. At least the ones I have read so far. I postponed reading this one for several years because I didn't like the plot and couldn't bare disliking a book from my favorite author.
Well, I was right. Sadly. I am now halfway through and I just want to strangle the hero. He starts off making a "sacrifice" of himself by marrying the daughter of a rich cit. That part I have no problem with because Jenny is sweet and no-nonsense and you just can't help liking her. The hero though. Honestly he treats her like dirt. He uses the word "revulsion" several times when thinking of his wife. This he still does halfway through the book. This really just makes my want to strangle him because Jenny's pregnancy has just been discovered.
So the "poor poor" hero who has sacrificed his relationship with the love of his life and is deeply unhappy (which he fu#$ tells his former fiance while his pregnant wife is in the room) isn't unhappy enough to keep his di#$ in his pants. I know that sex isn't something that is addressed in a Heyer novel but I think we all know were children come from and just the thought of the poor heroine being put through that with a man who treats her like sh#$ makes me want to puke.
I'm not sure I will finish this book. It puts me in a bad mood.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Adam Deveril, a hero of Salamanca, returns from the Peninsula War to find his family on the brink of ruin and his ancestral home mortgaged to the hilt. He is now Viscount Lynton, with the responsibility of saving the estate, and the only way to do so is to marry an heiress. He is introduced to Mr. Jonathan Chawleigh, a City man of apparently unlimited wealth and no social ambitions for himself -- but with his eyes firmly fixed on a suitable match for his only daughter, the quiet and decidedly plain Jenny Chawleigh.
This was a very different kind of "romance" for Heyer. Someone on my Georgette Heyer Appreciation Group described it as more real. And it was. Adam marries Jenny (who also happened to be in love with him but never though she'd have a chance with him). But he still has feelings for his old love. Jenny, physically, doesn't stand a chance again the old flame's looks and grace. But Jenny's a better person, and her biggest goal is to make Adam happy and comfortable. As time goes by, you can see that his old dreamlike feelings for the other girl shift in the reality of life and his feelings for Jenny begin to grow. Instead of looking at her and being a little disgusted at her plumpness and plainness, he begins to see her inner beauty.
It drags a little with a lot of telling about the second war with Napoleon but I only marked it down half a star for that since it does play a rather significant role in the ending.
4 1/2 stars
This is, I think, Georgette Heyer's finest work. It takes on the timely issue of an impoverished noble marrying a wealthy mercantile heiress to restore his estate and fortunes. All the class clashes and issues of romantic love vs. practicality are taken on here. Youthful dreams versus the practicality of daily love, and the way two people grow to love each other are highlighted. A very satisfying tale.
One of this authors best books in my opinion. A real life story of true love that can develop between two people determine to be civil and kind to one another; in spite of broken hearts and lost dreams.
Makes me smile, every time. Not caught up in the whirlwind of balls, but of everyday life on the estate, getting along with new relations, etc. Wonderful!
It's giving away nothing when I tell you that the hero of this tale doesn't marry the woman of his dreams, but that to me is what makes this a great book. From what I've read, Heyer wrote this as a sort of anti-romance, to show a different type of companionate love. She succeeds in telling an interesting tale full of well-realized and generally believable people.
While I enjoyed the book very much, and rate it as among the best Heyers I've read so far, I can't recommend it unreservedly. You probably won't like it if you aren't interested in particular details of the history of the period, including the Napoleonic wars. I'm a history buff, however, and I loved it. Heyer apparently wanted to write histories but ended up writing so many romances and mysteries because she needed the money.
Another interesting part of the book to me is the way she shows mature, married love and how it differs from the sparks of young love. This is really her theme, and she is expert at showing the dailyness of love and how it can grow between two caring people.
And as always, another sparkling performance by the narrator, Phyllida Nash. She can do no wrong.
Simply understand before you try it that this is not a typical romance, and in some ways not a typical Heyer. But give it a chance, and you'll be rewarded.
Female and left 39 behind more than two decades ago. Genres I like are procedural mysteries, history and historical fiction, and science fic
Superb performance. This is my favorite He yer Regency romance. It is a wonderful study of marriage, romance, and love. Get this book.
This is the story that actually convinced me to start reading Georgette Heyer's novels -- previously, I had expected them just to be ridiculous modern attempts at Regency works. I was quite mistaken!
What I love about this story is that the two main characters behave as they are supposed to, not as fleeting passions or hormones or selfish desires might dictate. Adam and Jenny's marriage is a civil contract, but they both try so hard to build a real marriage out of it, which is what makes for a unique and interesting story. The tone is a little sad at times, and the pacing moves slower than other stories, but it is really quite lovely and believable.
The narration on the story was well done and makes for a pleasant bit of bedtime reading at night.
Phyllida Nash is so wonderful at voicing multiple characters. She brings them to life. The listener understands so much more clearly the understated humor in the dialogue. She does justice to Georgette Heyer's stories and complex characters.
I don't think I can settle on just one favorite. Of course, Mr. Chawleigh is most apparent. He is forceful, amusing, generous, and infuriating as he is determined to gain and maintain the upper hand. But, Adam, Captain Deveril, the new Viscount, is the perfect hero. He has served his country and now must serve his family and his sense of honor. He sacrifices his dearest wish and his dream to make sure his mother and sisters are taken care of. He marries a woman who not at all appealing to him and is determined to fulfill his side of the marriage contract with honor and giving her all the honor due her as his wife. He has a completely appealing personality.
I have listened to her before and I have enjoyed all of them. I think this completes all of her Georgette Heyer readings and the rest are already in my library, except for The Foundling. I suppose that will be the next one I will have to add based not only on my appreciation of Georgette Heyer, but on the strength of Phyllida Nash's performances. You are drawn into the story and the characters thanks to her voice acting.
The final pages when it all comes together. You see how the main characters have grown. The strength of Adam and Jenny, of his friend Brough, of the relationship between Mr. Chawleigh and Adam. It's so realistic and human.
If you enjoy history and historical fiction, you will enjoy this story set in Britain during the Napoleonic period. It's a window into the past. It is not light reading, but it is worthwhile.
The situation is realistic, the characters complex and endearing (or intentionally aggravating), and the development of Adam and Jenny's relationship is subtle and beautifully evolved.
My favorite character is Jenny, but Phyllida Nash does a splendid performance in every role, from airy-fairy Julia to robust, vulgar, warm-hearted Mr. Chawleigh.