Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Powder and Patch, Georgette Heyer

Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: 1923, Mills & Boon originally, most recent edition is Harlequin, 2004
Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 7.5/10

I am still making my way through Georgette Heyer's huge list of historical romances. Someday I will run out of new Heyers to read and it will be a sad, sad day. But then I will re-read them all and be happy again.

Powder and Patch follows Philip Jettan, the son of a country squire. Philip loves his country life, and at 19 has no wish to taste the delights of town. He's also in love with the belle of the neighborhood, the beautiful Cleone. Cleone returns his affections, but is appalled by his lack of town polish. He's a bit of a country bumpkin, see, and in that age such coarseness is unforgivable in an English gentleman. So Philip, whose marriage proposal has been rejected, takes off for Paris and London to begin a transformation into the powdered, foppish man he thinks Cleone wants.

This book seemed shorter and simpler than many of Heyer's -- fewer characters and a less complicated plot. According to this bibliography, Powder and Patch was only Heyer's third novel and was originally titled The Transformation of Philip Jettan (which I think is a better title). Still a very charming read, though. Philip is a lovable character and it's fun to see how he transforms himself from a gauche boy into the toast of London.

6 comments:

Li said...

This is one of my favourite Heyers :-)

It is definitely shorter than other Heyers - did you know it was originally published as a M&B (or Harlequin in US-speak)? I did a quick Google search when I reviewed it for Nath's TBR challenge, and IIRC it was originally titled "The Transformation of Philip Jettan" or something like.

I love the lace and flounces of Georgian historicals, so this was right up my alley!

Jennie said...

I have to say that I generally like her Regencies better than her Georgians. Though this one was a nice little read. :) I didn't realize that M&B had been around that long!

arnique said...

I've put off reading this since I'm not big fan of the pomp of Georgian England, but I liked Heyer's The Convenient Marriage and Faro's Daughter, which are both Georgians. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Li said...

I am such a dodo - I swear I read your post before commenting. Really.

And somehow both the facts I mentioned in my comment are in your review. Obviously wasn't my day.

*slinks away*

Jennie said...

Hi Arnique -- I know what you mean about the pomp of Georgian England, but this book actually sort of makes fun of the time period. Philip really doesn't like the foppishness of the men (all powdered and with patches on their faces) and the ridiculous society, but he decides he has to give it a try to get the girl he wants. :)

Li -- Lol, no worries! It happens to us all. :)

Winter Maiden said...

Ah, Georgette Heyer, whom I love. These are now all being re-published as trades, which makes me very happy, since my mass markets have been read to tatters.

I find the Regencies definitely more readable (my favorites are The Grand Sophy, The Unknown Ajax, Arabella, Venetia, and The Reluctant Widow), but the Georgians repay patience and I think have somewhat richer characterization, albeit with flimsily-constructed suspense plots. I've been in love with Justin of These Old Shades most of my life, and still dream of acquiring the unshakable aplomb of The Talisman Ring's Sarah Thane.