Jane Stewart's Reviews > Sprig Muslin

Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer
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Oct 28, 2010

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bookshelves: historical-romance-prior-to-wwll
Read in October, 2010

Gary tries to help a capable but clueless, lying, runaway teenager. Frustrating first half. Very enjoyable last third.

17 year old Amanda runs away from home because her grandfather won’t let her marry Neil. Gary (who is 35) happens to see her at an inn and fears bad things may happen to her traveling alone like that. He is a good Samaritan who wants to keep her safe and return her to her home. She won’t tell him her name, but Gary thinks he could locate Neil if they go to London. Amanda then sneaks away from Gary. Gary goes to great lengths, searching for Amanda, again to help her.

Amanda is fearless when she shouldn’t be. She has good survival instincts. She is great at making up lies on the spot. Gary is the only one who doesn’t believe her lies. Throughout the story Amanda’s lies create predicaments for everyone she interacts with.

Gary’s fiancé died seven years earlier, and he believes he will never love again. He offered to marry Hester a friend of his who is shy, quiet, and sensible. She rejected his offer. We don’t know why.

For more than half the book I immensely disliked Amanda. I knew the feeling when I read two other reviewers who said they wanted “to smack Amanda right in the mouth.” I did not enjoy her lies. The minute Gary gets her to safety she will just run away again. I had no sympathy for her, and I couldn’t believe Gary would spend so much time and money trying to help her. She didn’t want his help, and she caused problems for him. Throughout the book Gary’s reaction to her was of amusement. I did not feel amusement, but maybe that’s my own jadedness problem. So I didn’t like the first half (or more). But the last part was very enjoyable, and I didn’t want to stop reading/listening. Because of Amanda’s lies and other situations, Gary and others went along with her lies and pretended to be something they weren’t. Seeing Gary and others act out these parts was entertaining. And the ending was lovely.

I wish that more conversation happened with a particular couple toward the end. They had a friendly and caring relationship, and then all of a sudden he says I love you will you marry me. She says yes. But I didn’t get any explanation. It was too sudden. I wanted to see their feelings develop for each other. That was missing.

Because I was doing the audiobook, I found it helpful to print the list of characters from the website heyerlist org under Who's Who. Although, there is a minor spoiler in the Hildebrand Ross description, so don’t read that paragraph in advance of the book.

Unabridged audiobook length: 10 hours. Narrator: Sian Phillips. Swearing language: none. Sexual content: none. Setting: 1813 England. Book Published: 1956. Genre: regency romance.
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