An example of Heyer's masterful command of humour. Sophy's appeal as a heroine may depend on what degree of sophistication or fresh-spiritedness you aAn example of Heyer's masterful command of humour. Sophy's appeal as a heroine may depend on what degree of sophistication or fresh-spiritedness you are willing to read into her antics - and how benignly or maliciously you may be inclined to regard her manipulation of others. Charles' appeal as a hero is helped a great deal by his growth as a brother. Charlbury's presence was rather more interesting on the third go-through; I don't think I even noticed him the first few times. Cecilia was likewise more interesting, and Augustus more entertaining. The interlude with the moneylender is indeed appallingly racist and I'm not sure how I can justify finding the rest of the book enjoyable despite it, but somehow I do so find it enjoyable. Jan 11/12...more
So, the thing is, the main characters in this book are all incredibly immature as well as being self-absorbed to various degrees. It's sort of terrifySo, the thing is, the main characters in this book are all incredibly immature as well as being self-absorbed to various degrees. It's sort of terrifying if you think of it from a distance. Despite being of age in their context, they behave as you might expect emotionally blinkered, pampered teenagers to behave when left to the management of their own affairs. And yet they are appealing, endearing, and sympathetic. Heyer's skill with humor and plot makes this book a romp that just keeps on giving, while at its core still lies an exquisitely cathartic vein of tender emotion. It'll grow on you if you give it half a chance. Unless, of course, you can't empathise even a jot with emotionally blinkered, pampered, not-quite-teenagers*. In which case, go away and find something humorless and modern to read. And please excuse my inability to be objective about my most truly and enduringly favourite book :)
(*Yes, technically in terms of age Hero is a teenager. Quite possibly Isabella too. But neither they nor Heyer quite belong to a culture that includes 'teenager' as a category of being in the way of, say, contemporary reality tv) 21 July/13
It's hard to remember that I found this book disappointing after I first read it, when I was about 16. It's now one of my absolute favourite books, so it's a stretch to remember, let alone believe, that what I disliked most was that the characters are so incredibly immature. Trying to be objective, I can still understand why some might be put off by this book's general frivolity and its rather unromantic and unidealised protagonists. But, now I find that it's those very characteristics that keep me coming back to this book for a guaranteed round of emotional catharsis, a delicious journey complete with many provocations to helpless laughter (aloud) and a few passages so heart-wrenching that they almost make me cry. I think you have to be sympathetic to the heroine's and hero's immaturity to enter into the spirit of this book. Remembering that she's barely 17 and he's a rather pampered 23 may help you look indulgently on some of their ridiculous behaviour - they are essentially children. By the end, they have grown just enough that you can see the glimmer of adulthood in their future; the delight of this book lies in accompanying them en route to a better footing for marriage. Nov 7/11 ...more
I think of April Lady as sort of Heyer-lite - perhaps more of her energy and attention went into writing Sylvester around the same time. The majorityI think of April Lady as sort of Heyer-lite - perhaps more of her energy and attention went into writing Sylvester around the same time. The majority of the book is stultifying, with boring characters and an embarassing and egregious (for Heyer) overuse of historical detail. The heroine is annoyingly ingenuous, the hero is inconsistent and gruff, and the secondary characters are little more than caricatures. However, the last 1/5th is a fun, mad rush of escalating absurdities as the tediously extended plot device of the dress bill culminates in the business of the missing jewels. Worth the slog, if you're willing to put up with the overextended set up. However, do note that the focus on domestic matters and spousal miscommunication makes it less conventionally romantic than most of Heyer's regencies - and thus likely to leave you dissatisfied. Sept/13...more
Charity Girl is mostly about the hero, who spends most of the book traipsing about the country being a Truly Upstanding Gentleman. The rest makes a quCharity Girl is mostly about the hero, who spends most of the book traipsing about the country being a Truly Upstanding Gentleman. The rest makes a quiet story that focusses on social interactions. Overall, a sedate Heyer that suffers from some flat secondary characters, but still offers some truly memorable scenes, appealing leads, and an immersive escape into the regency. I quite like the romance, which is understated and mundane - as far as I can tell Des' main reason for realizing he wants to marry Hetta is that he wants to share the humour of everyday episodes with someone - yet still satisfying. But, it can be easy to miss while you're distracted with Des' quest on Cherry's quest, so be sure to read thoughtfully. 3-4 stars :) Sept/13...more
I probably wasn't ready for this book when I read it. I remember being disturbed by and displeased with the plot, yet faintly impressed by the intelleI probably wasn't ready for this book when I read it. I remember being disturbed by and displeased with the plot, yet faintly impressed by the intellect behind the story - when I wasn't alienated by the distancting tone. I'm starting to suspect it's worth a re-read, but until I get around to that I'll leave be this two-star rating that I'm terribly self-conscious about because, come on, Kazuo Ishiguro right? Yeah. Sept/13...more
Jane Austen fanfic. Overwritten and exhausting, basically a string of overlapping romance novel tropes and cliches. Not in any way like the source matJane Austen fanfic. Overwritten and exhausting, basically a string of overlapping romance novel tropes and cliches. Not in any way like the source material - too many departures in tone, characterization, plot possibilities etc etc etc. But compelling enough to have made me want to progress to the next one. And some really, really memorable tidbits.