Michelle's Reviews > Charity Girl

Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer
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Jan 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: adult-fiction, chick-lit, period-piece, regency
Read from January 04 to 06, 2012

Apparently I have this little problem when it comes to choosing books from a genre. I find myself choosing the one book that is not representative of the group. Like that time I picked up an Orson Scott Card novel with the intention of giving science fiction a try. I've NEVER read science fiction, and guess what? I still haven't ever read science fiction because I just happened to choose the one Orson Scott Card book that is NOT science fiction.

And I've done it again! My mother is a huge fan of Regency Romances, so I was looking through her shelf of old books, and found Charity Girl. I figured, since it is Georgette Heyer and Georgette Heyer is the queen of the Regencies, this would be the perfect book. (BTW...I have read one contemporary Regency recently, Seeking Persephone, which I did sort of adore. But I wanted an "original" example of the genre, I guess...and now I'm rambling, so moving on.)

The problem is, I didn't pick the prototypical Regency. I picked the one wherein Miss Heyer seemed to be experimenting...maybe? I don't know. But it didn't have the sweet and lovely heroine versus the mean and brooding hero. You know how the story goes down. These two folks are completely incompatible with each other, but for some reason, they are thrust together due to some impossible circumstance. A marriage of convenience takes place early on, and then we wait and see how the two work their differences out. In the mean time, there is a lot of romantic tension because they both like each other and have lots of chemistry, but they are afraid or can't get over their pride, and so you get a glance here or a touch there, and maybe one or two small kisses. But just as in real life, you like the anticipation of the budding romance.

None of that happened here. It wasn't a bad thing, I suppose, and I liked it enough to finish it, but I was hoping for the formula. So maybe two stars is more how I feel about the fact that it was not the book I was expecting, but I gave it three because I honestly did like it. But it really stops at like for me.

But then again, the story did ramble on a bit. Here is a run down of the basic plot: girl runs away from her adopted home; girl is found by a wealthy aristocratic gentleman; gentleman must not break propriety by being seen to have seduced said girl; BUT gentleman cannot leave said girl by the wayside with out assistance; gentleman takes girl to friend and goes in search of girl's grandfather and/or other possible friends to aid in girl's rescue.

And really, the part about searching and searching for the grandfather/friends went on for quite some time, and I was a bit bored with it. There was no real romantic tension between any of the characters. Unlike Seeking Persephone, I didn't find myself screaming inside at the characters to just kiss already. And then (spoiler alert...kind of but not really) the romance wasn't even between this girl and her gentleman rescuer. Ugh. Isn't that all part of the convention? Not here, I guess, because gentleman loves the woman with whom he is completely and totally compatible. That's all fine and well in real life, where people should marry those with whom they are compatible, of course, but this isn't real life, now is it? But then I didn't want him to be with the rescued heroine, either, because Heyer didn't build any romantic tension between those two characters, either.

Do you see what I am saying here??? Stick with the formula, I beg of you!!!

Oh and then the ending, well, wow, it just sped right up and all of a sudden the pickle that these characters are in got actually sort of fun and exciting, and so I would say that the last forty pages or so were a bit redemptive of the drag that was going on there in the middle of the story.

Summary...this isn't a glowing review, but it wasn't a bad book. Just didn't find what I was expecting/wanted.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jami (new)

Jami That's so funny! I find myself doing that sometimes, too, when I manage to pick the one book that's not that great, but everyone loves all the author's other books. It tends to taint my view of that author. You'll have to let me know if you read any of Georgette Heyer's other books. I'll be curious to see what you think. I have a friend who really loves her books, but I haven't read any myself.


Michelle I'll let you know, Jami. I can't deny my disappointment, but I do have hope that her other books are better. My mom has read several, and she really enjoyed them. What I really want is Pride and Prejudice, but I know that I'm not going to get it, so I'll take a weaker/campier substitute. I just want it to have the romantic tension that is key to keeping the story interesting.


message 3: by Jami (new)

Jami Don't we all? (Want Pride and Prejudice, I mean.) It's why I've tried to stay clear of all Pride and Prejudice "sequels." They always disappoint. Speaking of crappy sequels, did you ever read the sequel to Cold Sassy Tree? It wasn't written by Burns, and it was painfully obvious.


Michelle I didn't. In fact, I didn't even know there was a sequel. But I try to steer clear of all such "sequels" myself. Like Scarlett, which I see you have already read and didn't love. I absolutely loved Gone With the Wind, and I would hate for some other writer to ruin my love for it. So I'm not going to read the sequel to Cold Sassy Tree since that is another favorite of mine.


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