Karen's Reviews > Venetia

Venetia by Georgette Heyer
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 18, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: georgette-heyer, historical-fiction, read-more-than-once, books-i-own, 5-star-fiction, absolute-favourites
Read from October 09 to 11, 2010

Even after many re-reads this remains my absolute favourite Georgette Heyer novel. I originally put off reading it for ages because the basic plot - rake meets inexperienced, carefully sheltered young woman, and the resultant taming of said rake - is arguably the most over-used and dull plotline known to any romance novelist. Set in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the bad baron is Jasper, Lord Damerel and his intended prey Miss Venetia Lanyon, sheltered, kept from a wider acquitaince first by a father seemingly demented by grief after the death of his wife, and then later by her elder brother leaving her as his power of attorney after he departs for the Napoleonic Wars. Her younger brother's disability also ties her to her solo life.

I was very surprised as early as the first page by the character of Venetia. (On Medea) "She was the delightful creature who cut up her brother, and cast the pieces in her papa's way, wasn't she? I daresay perfectly amiable when one came to know her".

Her first meeting with Lord Damerel starts off sounding like something from a typical romance novel. Venetia, in old dress and sun bonnet, out picking Damerel's blackberries, is accosted by him as he helps remove her dress from a blackberry thorn. However, Heyer rescues the situation with a sparkling duel of words, with the pair using multiple quotations from sources such as Shakespeare and Herrick like weapons against each other.

This leads on to what I feel is the key to explain my fondness for this book. The characters become well-matched friends, despite the warnings of the friends (and a certain "worthy" suitor) of Venetia. The story goes from friendship to love, and it is due primarily to Venetia that the book closes with a happy ending. The characters are allowed to build up a relationship without sex getting in the way - although there is a surprising amount of sizzle in this novel without, of course, any overtly sexual scene.

One of Heyer's more mature novels, the characterisation is brilliant, the dialogue witty. It is a very amusing story. If you ever need to put a smile on your face I can recommend no better novel to do so than this.
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Venetia.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.