Laurel's Reviews > The Convenient Marriage

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
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Aug 09, 10

bookshelves: geogette-heyer, historical-fiction, regency-era-fiction
Read from July 26 to August 05, 2010 — I own a copy

Richard Armitage reading a Georgette Heyer classic! *swoon*

I had not read The Convenient Marriage before this new Naxos Audiobooks recording happily landed on my doorstep. I will confess all up front. I did the unthinkable. I read the complete plot synopsis on Wikipedia before I delved into the first chapter. *horrors* Don’t even think about following my example. It will spoil the most enjoyable aspect of this novel – surprise!

The Convenient Marriage is one of Georgette Heyer’s more popular Georgian-era rom-com’s, and for good reason. It has all the requisite winning elements: a wealthy and eligible hero, a young naïve heroine, greedy relatives, a scheming mistress and a revengeful rake. Add in a duel, a sword fight, highway robbery, abduction, switched identities and scandalous behavior, and you are in for comedic high jinxes and uproarious plot twists. As I laughed out loud at the preposterous plot machinations in the synopsis, I thought to myself, “How does Heyer do it? How can she take us on such an outrageously wild ride and make it believable?” I was soon to find out.

Handsome and elegant Marcus Drelincourt, Earl of Rule, is comfortable in his bachelorhood. At thirty-five his sister Lady Louisa Quain urges him to marry, suggesting the beautiful Elizabeth Winwood. She is from an aristocratic family of good pedigree but little fortune. With two unmarried younger sisters, prim Charlotte and impulsive Horatia, and their self-indulgent elder brother Pelham (about as much help to his family as a rainstorm at a picnic), she must marry well. Lady Winwood is thrilled when the Earl agrees to marry Elizabeth and save the family from destitution. Seventeen-year old Horatia is not. Presenting herself at the Earl’s doorstep she boldly offers herself to him in exchange for her elder sister who is in love with Lieutenant Edward Heron. Horry proposes a marriage of convenience to Lord Rule with the promise that she will not interfere with him after they are married. She does not bring much to the bargain. Not only is she poor, she does not possess her sister’s beauty, and she stutters. Intrigued by this young, brave girl, he is tempted and soon sees the logic, agreeing to her proposal.

The new Countess of Rule wastes no time in becoming the sensation of the bon ton dressing to the nines, attending parties, the opera, gambling huge sums and getting into all sorts of scrapes while her husband continues to pay attentions to his mistress Lady Caroline Massey. With patience and fortitude, Lord Rule councils his stubborn young bride against excess and the dangerous liaisons of Baron Robert Lethbridge, a known rake with a history with the Drelincourt family.

Determined to teach her husband a lesson for his interference, she defies his wishes attending a masked ball. Escorted by Lethbridge, he sees their friendship as the perfect opportunity to ruin her reputation and punish Drelincourt for thwarting his elopement with his sister Louisa years before. Horry tempts Lethbridge with cards, bending his resistance by scandalously agreeing to offer a lock of her hair if he wins. Unbeknownst to Horry, her husband has followed her to the ball, overhears their conversation and intercedes by stepping on her dress and ripping it. While she is away he disposes of Lethbridge and exchanges his costume with his own. Returning, Horry loses badly at cards and must give Lethbridge/Rule his winnings. Penitent, she concedes the bet which is met with a stolen kiss. Furious, Horry rushes away running into Lady Caroline Massey who recognizes her. Certain that her husband’s mistress will reveal to him that his wife was at the ball, she confesses all to him first. The Earl in turn reveals his charade. Discovering that he has fallen in love with his wife, how will he court and convince her that love is much better than a marriage of convenience?

Heyer’s characterizations just sparkle and shine. This May/Decemeber relationship presents great opportunity for difference in opinion and blunder. If Horry had not been an impulsive, stubborn seventeen-year old there would have been little conflict and no story. Lord Rule’s patience in dealing with his teenage bride commanded respect, endearing us to him by opening up the possibility of the love relationship that we hope for. This delightful romp was made all the more enjoyable by this new audio recording by British stage and screen actor Richard Armitage. This is his third foray into Georgette Heyer for Naxos Audiobooks. His skill at unique characterization and resonant, velvetly voice transports the listener like Cinderella to the Ball. Unfortunately, once the story ends, so does the enchantment. My solution was to start it again. For me, a new audio recording combining fanciful storyteller Georgette Heyer and the sultry and seductive voice of Richard Armitage is like la petite mort. Hopefully they are not few and far between.

Laurel Ann, Austenprose.com
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Reading Progress

07/26/2010
20.0% "Oh my! Richard Armitage's velvet voice is as good as it gets."
08/01/2010
35.0% "More swooning over Richard Armitage's voice. If anyone was born to read Heyer, it is him!"
08/05/2010
75.0% "Wonderful hero and heroine. A duel and gambling. What fun!"
08/06/2010
100.0% "Richard Armitage. *swoon* Nuff said. Heyer's romp is outrageous fun!"

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Deborah Leeb I like Georgette Heyer. Fun Regency romances. Should read Elizabeth Gaskell.


message 2: by Janet (new)

Janet It is definitely not one of my favourites and I have everything Heyer has ever written so I'm able to compare. I find the heroine so grating. And it's not May/December that bothers me: These Old Shades is a marvelous book. Perhaps when you're listening to the Voice of Velvet though, it's a different experience!

My top five are: Friday's Child, Cotillion, Devil's Cub, April Lady and Black Sheep altho Frederica & Venetia & so many others are also delightful.


message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren "Laurel Ann said: "Richard Armitage reading a Georgette Heyer classic! *swoon*"

lol!! sold!


message 4: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue I haven't read this one yet, but it sure sounds great!


Deborah Leeb I bought the audio with Richard Armitage based on YOUR review AND his performance in North and South!


Martha RA does a wonderful job with the recordings. I found 3 that he's done on audible and got them all. I'll be sad when I've listened to them all, so will have to do what you did, Laurel, and just start them over. :-)


Deborah Leeb Does anyone know what Richard Armitage is doing now? It would be great if he recorded a few more Georgette Heyer books. He is the best.


message 8: by Martha (last edited Jun 29, 2012 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Martha He's in The Hobbit, but I imagine filming is done on it. I hope he does more Heyer books and I wish they were unabridged versions. :-) And yes, he is the best!


Marichka Sporysh I bought Lords of the North, read by Richard. That's his longest recording :)


Martha Is it available in the US? I would love to have it. He's also narrated some audios of a few episodes of the Robin Hood series. Wonderful!


Marichka Sporysh Martha, not in the US, but you can order it from England in here http://www.audiogo.com/uk There are 2 versions of audiogo: US and British. Make sure you are registering with this website under British flag :) I also hope Richard will record more audiobooks, while he is becoming so crazily famous :)


Martha So do I!! Thanks for the link.


Colette Thomas I completely agree! I had loved Richard Armitage but this audiobook deepened my appreciation! he has also recorded two other Heyers: Venetia and Sylvester. They are available on itunes and are the perfect cure for a dreary day or a long commute!


Martha He's also recorded some episodes of Robin Hood, based on the TV series he did a few years ago. They are available through audible.com ... wonderful fun.


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