Sbuchler's Reviews > Frederica

Frederica by Georgette Heyer
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Mar 15, 12

bookshelves: read-in-2011, romance, re-read, audio-books

Genre: Regency Romance

This is probably my favorite of all of Heyer’s romances. I adore both A Civil Contract and Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle but the one I re-read most is Frederica. In all three, both the hero and heroine are well-drawn characters, but in Frederica., more than the other two, both of them have to grow a little.

Frederica Merriville has 4 younger siblings and while legally the family is in the care of her brother, in reality it is Frederica who has long been in charge of the family. She has decided to move them all to London in order to give her beautiful sister Charis “A Season”, hoping that Charis will marry well. Once in London Frederica applies to her father’s cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke (a person her scapegrace father stigmatized as “the best of my family”) to sponsor them into the “ton”, thinking he had a wife who could do so. Unfortunately for her plans, the Marquis is unmarried. Fortunately however, he meets the beautiful Charis and sees in her a way to get back at his scheming sisters – and agrees to sponsor the Merrivilles.

Sponsoring the Merrivilles turns out to be more than just hosting a ball in the girls’ honor; but surprisingly the bored and indolent Alverstoke finds himself amused and not at all reluctant to be drawn into their mischief. Felix and Jessamy (the youngest Merrivilles) are especially full of high spirits. The Marquis was the only son of very distant parents, and the Merriville’s open and easy ways and affection are an eye opener to him – a view into family life that he’d never been exposed too. But he quickly comes to like Felix and Jessamy for their own sakes.

It turns out that Alverstoke and Frederica share many of the same tastes – they both have a very similar sense of humor, and enjoy high society very much, but what Frederica doesn’t see (but Alverstoke does see) is that Charis does not share this enjoyment. Despite being the most beautiful girl of the season, Charis prefers country balls. She’d rather know everyone at a party. This basic misunderstanding about what will make Charis happy is the source of the conflict though the second half of the book, which is made worse because Fredrica is used to taking care of her sister, and Fredrica is sensible, while Charis is not. However, in this case, Charis does know best. I think this is an unusually realistic cause of conflict to find in a romance novel; even more unusual is it to find the heroine being in the wrong (and Fredrica is certainly wrong here), and yet she only wants what’s best for Charis.

Eventually, after playing though the farce that is Charis’ romance the Marquis finally gets around to proposing to Fredrica. Alverstoke has spent the last forth of the book acting in ways that proclaim his love for her (which are absolutely delightful to read!) but I have to re-read the final proposal two or three times each time I read the book, because it just isn’t long enough. *happy sniffle*
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