Title: False Colours
Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: Orig. 1963, Reissued 2008, Sourcebooks
Category: Historical Fiction
Sourcebooks has been reissuing Heyers in very pretty trade paperback editions. I bought this one because I hadn't read it yet and it's about identical twins! (Like me.)
Kit Fancot has been working as a diplomat in Vienna but returns home to London because he has a feeling that his twin brother, Evelyn, is in trouble. He finds out that Evelyn is missing. Kit's not too worried about him because it's not that unusual for Evelyn to disappear on larks for a while, but the problem is that Evelyn has become engaged to a society lady and is due at her father's house for a formal dinner to meet the whole family. Kit's mother explains that Evelyn is making the match to alleviate some financial woes and tells Kit that he must go to the dinner and pretend to be Evelyn. Kit doesn't want to, but he has to help out his brother, so he goes and the ruse goes off without a hitch. The problem comes when the fiance decides that she needs to get to know Evelyn better (because all of a sudden she likes him (as Kit) a whole lot more) and comes with her grandmother to stay at Kit's country house with them. Kit was able to fool everyone for one night, but now he's faced with a week in the girl's company. And he has to figure out where Evelyn has got himself to.
Typical Heyer--I loved it. I find Heyer's books so funny--the situations are ridiculous and some of the characters are too, which makes for hilarious scenes. I laughed out loud when Kit's mother tells Evelyn (when he finally comes home) that now that everyone is used to Kit playing him he must pretend to be Kit pretending to be Evelyn.
Kit's mother is actually an unusual character for Heyer. She is silly and frivolous and her inability to keep her debts under control is giving her sons all sorts of trouble, and yet she's still a sympathetic character. Usually those sorts of characters are held up for ridicule. But the while the mother here may be silly, she has a warm heart and loves her sons more than anything else.
And I can say with experience that the twins did act like twins. Except for the part about them just "knowing" that the other is in trouble even when they are in different countries. Sorry to disappoint, but there is no mystical connection between twins. A couple weeks ago Twin went on a blind date and all of a sudden I just knew that he was an ax murderer, so I kept calling her on her cell phone. Of course she was fine (and really annoyed with me for bugging her). But I can see that it does make for very convenient plot lines, so I guess Heyer can be excused that. She did get it right otherwise. They can be apart for months and when they meet again it's like no time has passed. Better than best friends, with so much shared history that they know each other better than anyone else ever will. And they just know that the other will be there for them no matter what.
Not that they'd ever say so to each other. Heyer really hit it right with that last scene. I never tell Twin "thank you" or "I love you." I'm more likely to call her a fat cow, but she knows what I really mean. :) And now you all need some twin cuteness:
(I have no idea which is me. I can't tell when we're this little.)