Fiery, strong-willed Deb Grantham, who presides over a gaming house with her aunt, is hardly the perfect wife for the young and naive Lord Mablethorpe. His lordship’s family are scandalized that he proposes to marry one of "faro’s daughters", and his cousin - the proud, wealthy Max Ravenscar - decides to take the matter in hand. Ravenscar always gets his way, but as he and Miss Grantham lock horns, they become increasingly drawn to each other.
Amidst all the misunderstandings and entanglements, has Ravenscar finally met his match?
©1969 Georgette Rougier (P)2013 Naxos AudioBooks
My tastes seem to run along a space-crime continuum
It says something of my status as a Georgette Heyer Fangirl that I keep getting these Naxos abridgments. I want to believe they are better than nothing, but after this one, I think I'll stick to nothing if unabridged is unavailable.
This is not one of Heyer's best books, but it's far from the worst. There's a bite to the romance. The heroine is a hostess/dealer in an elite gaming house (faro was a popular game that seems to have had a bit in common with blackjack). The hero is a sardonic, jaded, and excessively rich misanthrope whose first instinct is to mistrust others.
The problem with these abridgments is epitomized in a climactic scene where Max (the hero) entices one of his antagonists (I guess you could call him the villain) into a high-stakes game of piquet (a skill-based, "trick-taking" game for two; the rules can be found on Wikipedia if you're more interested in card games than I am). As originally written the scene is long and engrossing. The tension builds and Heyer's skill as a novelist puts you right in the gamblers' heads as Max icily plays his cards. The outcome after long hours of play comes as no surprise, but it is a dramatic moment that is both satisfying and crucial to the plot.
In the abridged version here, there is no engrossing tension. The game is over in a couple of unsatisfying paragraphs, leaving you with no sense of Max's strategy but with the sense that both you and Lord Ormskirk have just been duped.
The 18th century chamber music interspersed between scenes is nice, but while appropriate to some Heyer stories it doesn't speak to the mood of this somewhat darker tale. And if they're trying for their own unfathomable reasons to keep the length to 4 or 5 CDs, the music is just a waste of space.
I *do* like the covers on Naxos editions. Past publishers have done Heyer a great disservice with the sappy cartoons seen on many of the unabridged editions here. The silly artwork does not in any way convey the classic excellence of these books. I continue to hope that more unabridged Heyer, both her novels and her mysteries, will become available on Audible.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.