Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: 2000, Harlequin (originally 1965)
Category: Historical Romance
I continue my way through Heyer. I discovered her about a year ago and have read a lot of them. And this one ranks among my favorites, which is good because the last one I read (Lady of Quality) was disappointing. But I guess even Heyer's allowed to have a few misses.
The Marquis of Alverstoke is a rich and selfish aristocrat. He's got tons of extended family who are always coming to him expecting him to give them money and do them favors. He doesn't care for his family and is sick of them relying on him. Our heroine, Frederica, a distant cousin of Alverstoke, arrives in London with the aim of launching her sister, Charis, into society. Frederica is the eldest of 5 siblings and has been taking care of the entire brood since her parents died several years previously. Frederica goes to Alverstoke and asks that he help her introduce Charis to the ton. Now, normally, this is just the kind of thing that would annoy Alverstoke, but he's taken with Frederica, so he decides to help them.
As he helps the family he gets to know them--especially Frederica and her two youngest brothers. They get into scrapes that he helps them out of and Alverstoke is constantly surprised by the fact that he likes them all so much. The interaction among Frederica and her many siblings is so funny and true to life--anyone who has siblings can relate to all the squabbling and teasing, but also the loyalty and affection among them.
So this one doesn't have Heyer's most interesting plot, and in fact I thought it dragged a little in a few places, but it's just so nice and cozy! Delightful characters: pragmatic, no-nonsense Frederica; bored and selfish Alverstoke; the very beautiful but idiotic Charis; and Frederica's incorrigible and adorable little brothers.
And every time I read Heyer I'm amazed by all the historical detail she puts in. If you're ever annoyed by a wallpaper historical, Heyer would be a good antidote. Not that I know all that much about the timeperiod, but with a lot of authors you just get the impression of completely modern-day characters plopped into a historical setting. The way Heyer's characters speak and act seems so authentic and true to the setting.
My next Heyer: Devil's Club