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The Corinthian

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The only question which hangs over the life of Sir Richard Wyndham, notable whip, dandy and Corinthian, is one of marriage. On the eve of making the most momentous decision of his life, while he is contemplating a loveless marriage with a woman his friends have compared to a cold poultice, he is on his way home, a little worse for drink, and finds a perfect opportunity for escape by her boring destiny.

He discovers a beautiful young fugitive climbing out of a window by means of knotted sheets, dressed in boy's clothing lovely Penelope Creed is fleeing from London. She is a brilliant London heires with and lavish life, and a proposed marriage to her repulsive fish-lipped cousin, a man she loathed. She has a shimmering dream of a love she had known once--and lost. Discovered by Sir Wyndham, he can't allow her to travel to the countryside all alone, so he offers himself as her protector.

And with her in flight across a landscape of excitement was a man like no other she had known-- handsome, sophisticated, but cynical. They had met by accident, been drawn together by danger. And now only his masked emotions and the shifting impulses of her own wild young heart would tell what their destiny would be.... When their stagecoach overturns, they find themselves embroiled with thieves, at the center of a murder investigation, and finally, in love.


First published January 1, 1940

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About the author

Georgette Heyer

184 books4,600 followers
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer. Rougier later became a barrister and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

Heyer was an intensely private person who remained a best selling author all her life without the aid of publicity. She made no appearances, never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. She wrote one novel using the pseudonym Stella Martin.

Her Georgian and Regencies romances were inspired by Jane Austen. While some critics thought her novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Heyer's greatest asset.

Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 972 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
April 19, 2019
Sigh. I've overdosed on Georgette Heyer Regencies, and now I can't tell if I'm bored because this is mediocre Heyer or because I've temporarily reached saturation point on her books. The banter is witty, the hero capable and charming, the heroine brave and feisty, and I was pretty much unmoved by it all.

It's a cute and humorous plot: Sir Richard Wyndham is just about to enter into an engagement with the cold woman everyone expects him to marry, and has gotten very drunk to drown his unhappiness. He is making his boozy way home when he sees someone climbing out of a 2nd story window. Intrigued, he stops to catch this young person (since the knotted sheets they're climbing down stop several feet short of the ground). It turns out that this young person is 17 year old Penelope Creed, a wealthy orphan who is running away to avoid being pressured into marrying her cousin. The soused Sir Richard decides that running away sounds like a very good idea indeed, and, besides, Pen obviously needs someone older and capable to watch out for her.

So off they go, Pen with short hair and dressed in boy's clothing. Various shenanigans ensue. Also hijinks. And love blossoms in places unexpected to the hero and heroine but certainly not to the reader. Pen thinks she's going to go formalize her 5 year old unofficial engagement to Piers Luttrell, an old buddy of hers (so she was 12 when she was hanging out and making a youthful marriage pact with this 16 year old boy? Okaaay, I'm not going to think about that too hard). Some of the funniest parts are what happens when they finally meet up with Piers and the silly, weepy girl he's currently involved with. There's also a stolen diamond necklace subplot to add to the craziness.

Part of my problem is the age difference between Pen and Richard: 17 and 29. I'm past the point in my life where that's romantic to me, although I can handwave that if the rest of the story really grabs me. The romance is kind of given short shrift here, but that often happens with Heyer. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for comedic escapades.

3 so-so stars. Recommended if you're in the mood for Regency hijinks. Maybe I'll give it another shot when I'm more in the mood for that kind of story.
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
785 reviews564 followers
November 2, 2021
The Georgette Heyer Fans Group is reading GH's Regency novels in written order & it is fascinating to watch her progression as the Queen of the Regencies.

This is GH's third Regency & the first to show the lighthearted style she wrote so well. There is still a little bit of explanation of activities like Boxing the Watch, whereas in later books she is confident we are totally in her world.

On this particular read, I gulped the book down in one day (it is one of GH's shorter works) IMO that is the way to do it, as there are a few issues that I find highly improbable. But the great charm of the hero & heroine & the breakneck speed of the story carry things for me.

Also, the scapegrace Ceddie is one of my favourite of Gh's secondary male characters & the book just sparkles every time he is on the page.

Yes, there is an age difference. But 17 years old wouldn't have been considered that young for marriage in those days & even now a 12 year age gap is not that much. In my husband's family there are 3 marriages with around a ten year age difference & they are some of the happiest marriages I know. & I do think Pen will always bring out Richard's younger, happier side.

& I still love this book with the charm of the main characters & secondary character Ceddie.

But a big weakness for me is
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews234 followers
August 23, 2018
I thought that “The Corinthian” was a romance, but the romance in this book is almost non-existent. Nevertheless, it was very entertaining as I immersed myself in a bit of intrigue, with theft and a hapless murder; other side stories of silly females; incorrigible “would-be” brothers in-law; a prospective betrothed besotted to another; and of course, the two most delightful of heroes and heroines.

This storyline may have been unoriginal, but what makes this book standout is the dialog. Georgette Heyer has a real talent for writing great conversation and infusing it with nuances that help develop the characters.

As much as I love the characters though, the romance was a disappointment making the ending a bit unsatisfying. Pen and Richard are very likeable, I loved how they tackled every crazy situation thrust upon them, but I really can’t get myself to believe that they have any romantic chemistry. I wished the motivation of the characters were properly rendered, or maybe, the romance angle should have just been scrapped and I still think the story would have been delightful. But like I said, I was entertained and it’s very likely that I will revisit this adventure in the future.

“The Corinthian” may not be a good choice for a romance fix, but I think it makes for a fun, light-hearted read. Heyer snared her characters in a deliciously improbable plot and set them to acting out their roles with aplomb that I was actually sorry to see the adventure end.
Profile Image for Anne.
390 reviews73 followers
November 8, 2021
‘Yes, but I find that most unreasonable of you,’ objected Pen. ‘It seems to me that you want to keep all the adventure for yourself!’

The Corinthian is a 1940 historical romance. This was a witty, lighthearted adventure tale that was a delight to read.

When Sir Richard Wyndham (29) happened upon Penelope Creed (17) escaping from a second-story London window in the dead of the night, he offers his aid. Both have a reason to run away. They make a hasty departure that begins the journey. On their three-day adventure they encounter stolen goods, a thief, tedious family, a corpse, a brainless creature, a magistrate, a childhood friend, and a rampaging father.

Penelope (Pen) was intelligent, logical, and practical. I adored her from the start. She didn’t hesitate to speak up when someone was acting odious. Her sharp, sarcastic wit made me frequently laugh. And I loved the banter she shared with charming Richard.

Even though Pen and Richard do not realize it until later, they bond quickly. Through their light verbal sparring you notice the growing chemistry between them. Their relationship stays platonic until the end.

The book had a complex level of satire that reminded me of the high-brow humor found in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Like in the play, a web of relationship connections enriched the story. And a cross-dressing woman not only added intrigue but caused some amusing and delicate situations.

Heyer draws wonderful characters in this book. I found an early scene with Richard’s family hilarious. His mother, sister, and brother-in-law arrive at his house the morning after he and Pen flee. Curious items were found scattered about his house by the servants. Everyone quickly realizes Richard had not just stepped out but bolted. Each of the family began talking at once, imagining outlandish things about why he left . It was all a grand fuss and quite entertaining to read.

Really the only part of this story I didn’t care for was the dialogue from two characters, Jimmy Yarde, and the Bow Street Runner. It was more my issue, I suppose. But I understood little of what they said. I did get the jest enough to figure out what was going on. Luckily, this only occurred a couple of times. For example, .

This is an implausible romp through the English countryside that will delight and amuse. Fans of historical fiction and clean romance will find plenty to enjoy here. In case you’re wondering, a Corinthian is another word for a dandy. Learn something new every time I read a Heyer book!
Profile Image for Ruth Turner.
408 reviews111 followers
January 17, 2020

Georgette Heyer is my go-to author when I want something well written, light hearted and witty to read. She never disappoints.

The Corinthian is one of my favourites. I liked Sir Richard immensely, and Pen was funny and charming and had me laughing out loud at times.

There were many interesting secondary characters that appealed to me as well. I didn't find the "thieves cant" a problem as some other readers did. I think the story was better for including it.

A quick and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,556 reviews395 followers
March 11, 2020
2019 Re-Read
I've read this one several times now and it still leaves me laughing out loud.
Pen does grow on you. She is a prototypical Younger Heyer Heroine, no doubt about it. Her youthful naivete occasionally grates...but the scene where a neighborhood gentleman accuses her of seducing his daughter will always be one of my favorites!

2018 Re-Read
I generally find Heyer covers don't match the book, but this one seems particularly egregious. Why on earth does the girl on the front cover have brown hair and the dress of a Victorian lady? Pen has golden curls! Gah!
As usual, I found re-reading this book just made it better. I think it is because I properly appreciate Sir Richard Wyndham now. He has all the charms of the usual Heyer Hero without their defects (aka, an eye for the petticoat line.) He has friends, has a believable sense of humor, and in general is quite the romantic. Alverstoke and Charles may want to watch out...I've found a new Heyer Hero Favorite.
I also liked Pen a lot more this time round.

Maybe in my top 7 Best Heyer Novels. I love the combination of humor, romance, and mystery. Pen isn't always my favorite, but Sir Richard Wyndham is terrific. Truly, a must read for Heyer lovers. This is one I love, own, love that I own, and re-read frequently.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
August 18, 2016

In case you need something light, wonderful, witty and well written, then look no further. I really liked The Corinthian.

Unlike some of Heyer's other stories where you have to wait until everyone and their mother is introduced (and their situation), there aren't any delays here.
The introduction to Sir Richard and his family's wishes is done in a couple of pages. You even get to meet the woman everyone (except him, his brother-in-law and the woman's brother) expects to marry. The story doesn't go back and forth, though.

Heyer doesn't do in your face depictions. If you pay attention, from the first moment you see that Sir Richard is not happy. You see he wishes for something more.

Penelope and Sir Richard's first encounter happens very soon and it is one of the loveliest I've read so far. From there on, you get a romantic adventure featuring an uncomfortable trip in a coach, lots of firsts for both of them, imaginative explanations of their relationship, an encounter with a thief and much, much more.
If you do pay close attention, you'll notice when Sir Richard starts to see Pen differently.

I wish I could list all the funny moments in this book.
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews484 followers
April 9, 2013
Curiously, I did not enjoy this novel as much as I had expected to. I really really liked it, but I didn't get the same kind of satisfactory and awesome feeling I got after reading "The Black Moth" and "Powder and Patch" by the same author. The story, although good, seemed too unbelievable, which made the characters appear awkward as a whole, though I loved them individually. Sir Richard was a perfect, Heyer-typical hero and I thought the character of Penelope to be vastly entertaining. She was honest, sincere, naïve and innocent and offered a good contrast with Sir Richard. I loved the way she handled Lydia's affairs and the way she reacted to Lydia's general behaviour! Those parts were really funny.
I think what really threw me off was the ending... the romance, though predictable seem to come out of nowhere and it felt random and out of place. I liked the match, but I would have loved to have been given any ideas earlier that it was going to happen. But too much was focused on the mystery part of the novel, which didn't leave room for romantic interludes. Also, the ending did not feel conclusive at all, I felt like a whole chapter was missing!
Overall, I still strongly recommend it, but wouldn't recommend as a Heyer first read. It sill features amongst the best books I have ever read, but it's not Heyer's best.
Profile Image for Barb in Maryland.
1,843 reviews107 followers
November 3, 2021
First read sometime in between late 1967 and mid 1968, I vaguely remembered this as good, but not great.
ETA: 5 March 2018 re-read with the GH Fan group. Bumping my rating up to 3.5 stars
Although I know I probably re-read this a time or two, it had been so long ago that I had forgotten almost everything about it. I had a good time on the re-read. GH was in fine form in this one, witty and charming, everything sparkling. Young Penelope (Pen) Creed was a delightful miss of 17--she's a very level-headed, no nonsense, definitely not miss-ish young woman. Sir Richard Wyndham was the epitome of bored, rich man of the ton--at 29 just a bit young for all that ennui. (Funny, I had remembered him as much older... ) The delightful surprise was that Richard had a sense of humor and a boyish taste in adventure. Their interactions were the best part of the book.
The minor characters, while being familiar, had enough life to become more than cardboard cut-outs. This being an early GH Regency, she crammed as many of those minor characters into the action as she could--somewhat to the detriment of the story. I felt that the story spiraled almost out of control in the later chapters; I became exhausted trying to keep up with all the to-ing and fro-ing and all the conversations at cross-purpose. All the attention on the elopement (of two of the sappiest young lovers ever) and the convoluted stolen necklace subplot came close to obscuring the very sweet romance unfolding between Pen and Richard.
This still is not one of my favorites, but at least now I do think more kindly of it.
ETA: Nov 3, 2021 Re-reading again for the GH Fans group. I'm upping my rating to 4 stars, as I am moving this up several spots on my list of GH favorites. It's still not top 10, but it is definitely top 20.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
2,961 reviews1,478 followers
November 7, 2021
Sir Richard Wyndham, a noted Corinthian, has reached his 29th year without ever seriously thinking about marriage. Now his mother and sister are pressuring him into offering for the woman his father promised him too in childhood. Not being too keen on the idea of marriage or helping the lady's family out of debt, Richard heads to White's and gets exceedingly drunk before planning his marriage proposal the next day. One the way home, a youth drops out of a window into his arms. The youth turns out to be a girl, 17 year old Pen Creed who is running away from her aunt's in order to escape an unwanted marriage. Drunk and bored, Richard offers to help Pen return to her old home to find her childhood sweetheart who Pen believes will rescue her by proposing marriage. Soon Richard is accompanying Pen, dressed as a boy, on a madcap adventure through the English countryside where they make the acquaintance of a thief, solve a mystery, witness a murder and assist in an elopement! By the time the adventure comes to an end, Richard realizes he's never had more fun in his life and he doesn't want the fun to end!

Pen is young and innocent and doesn't really understand the position she's placed Richard in. Luckily for them both, their real feelings are revealed at the end and presumably the adventures will continue for a lifetime. I had mixed feelings about the ending. Like all Heyer novels, the ending happens very suddenly and ends abruptly leaving the reader wondering what happens next. In this case, I didn't think Pen and Richard should get together. I felt Pen was just too young and naive to think about marriage. However, I really enjoyed the crazy adventure while it lasted!

**reread with the Georgette Heyer Fans group

I enjoyed this story much more this time around than the first. Right away the characters leapt off the page and I could easily see and hear them in my head. This is all before the main characters are introduced! There's George, Richard's brother-in-law, who seems like a decent gentleman but is completely henpecked! His wife, Louisa, is a force to be reckoned with. If SHE decrees her brother needs to marry RIGHT NOW, it will happen. Poor George! Louisa and Richard's mother, Lady Wyndham, is manipulative in a more subtle way. She uses tears and die away airs to get what she wants. What she wants is an heir for the Wyndham dynasty. This puts a lot of pressure on our hero! His jovial Uncle failed to do his duty so now it all falls on Richard. He responds to the entreatments of his family in a cool fashion but really, he can't help but realize they are right.

Enter the Brandons! They are a sorry lot yet I do sort of have some sympathy for them. Alcoholism and a gambling addiction seem to run in the family and now they are at point non plus. Melissa is a cold fish and we're not supposed to like her- yet I feel sorry for her. She's around 25 and unmarried because she's been waiting around forever for Richard to make a formal declaration! With her father and brothers obliterating the family fortune (or lack thereof), what chance does she have at a decent life? I feel sad for her. If she doesn't become a governess (she'd make a great one with her personality-yikes), her only hope would be some "Cit" would want to marry his daughter off to Lord Saar's sons or the Cit's son to Melissa. (Read A Civil Contract to see how that works out). Beverly and Cedric, Lord Saar's sons (Melissa's brothers) are both unlikable characters. Beverly is way worse. Cedric at least is funny in a drawling, empty headed, sarcastic way. Cedric has more brains than his brother but that's not saying much. They're professional moochers. No wonder Richard has been dragging his heels!

Then we finally meet Pen. My original impression of Pen still stands. She is a teenager and everything with teenage girls is high drama. She isn't even "out" yet but hasn't her aunt ever told her not to go off with strange men? She's very trusting. There's no way, not even at 17, I would go off with a strange man, ESPECIALLY in this time period! She may not understand the why but she should know better. Pen is crazy. She is full of one madcap scheme after another, she lies at the drop of a hat and lacks feminine virtues. That last I can relate to but given her age, that is unusual. There's another female character of her own age to contrast with and Lydia is full of "sensibility." She is so used to getting her own way she doesn't know how to react when her dear Papa says no, so then tears. Lydia is boring and annoying. She complicates the plot unnecessarily and makes it more of a farce than comedy.

Richard and Pen meet a number of characters along the way. Most importantly is Jimmy Yarde. He cracks me up. I love the way he talks but it makes it so obvious what his profession is to a "knowing one" such as Richard. Richard is "awake on all suits" and knows exactly what Jimmy is up to, yet the characters and readers can't help but like Jimmy. Whoever heard of a person in that profession that didn't like violence? Richard and Pen also run into a Captain Trimble, an evil man who makes trouble for all the characters. The stammering man also complicates matters and nearly er "bubbles" Pen's scheme. Then there's Piers, Pen's childhood friend. He's a typical young gentleman and not as interesting as tomboy Pen. Pen's family is not as bad as she makes them out to be. Her cousin, as unattractive as he is, seems to be fairly decent and not what I expected. Her aunt though has much in common with Richard's mother. There's a run-in with a Bow Street Runner, a lovesick young girl, and a contretemps with an apoplectic Major and various innkeepers.

The plot is very Shakespearean with cross-dressing girls, love triangles and dastardly villains as only Georgette Heyer can write them. I still prefer the older heroine meets wicked rake plot. Pen is too young and silly for me but I enjoyed the madcap romp as I was waiting in line at the DMV.

Third read, again with the Georgette Heyer Fans 11/2021
Still not my favorite. Pen is too young and crazy for me and I don't think she belongs in a romantic comedy as the heroine. She needs a real uncle to ride shotgun and pick up the pieces of her crazy stories and keep her from doing something really stupid.

Lydia and Piers are both annoying. Lydia is more calculating than she appears at first. I predict they will be eternally miserable together.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,645 reviews1,002 followers
September 7, 2016
I've given this an A+ for narration and B+ for content at AAR, so probably nearer 5 stars than 4.

One of the best things about listening to new audio versions of older books is becoming reacquainted with stories I read many more years ago than I care to count! Georgette Heyer’s The Corinthian is not a title I’ve re-read over the years, so coming back to it in audio was almost like experiencing a new book. And a terrific experience it was!

The story is one with which any regular Regency reader is probably very familiar: an older, sophisticated and somewhat ennui-laden man-about-town becomes accidentally embroiled in a hare-brained scheme perpetrated by a younger female. One thing leads to another, in the way of a cartoon snowball rolling down a mountainside, and the couple ends up in the middle of all sorts of madness and mayhem while falling in love.

That’s pretty much the plot of The Corinthian - with more laughs, obviously. Handsome and extremely wealthy, twenty-nine year-old Sir Richard Wyndham is constantly pressured by his family to hasten his betrothal to the lovely, demure and very proper Honourable Melissa Brandon, who, they keep telling him, will make him the perfect wife. Unable to postpone the inevitable any longer and intending to propose the next day, Richard goes out and gets drunk and, on the way home, stops to assist a young lad climbing out of a window. The boy turns out (naturally) to be a very feminine armful, Miss Penelope Creed. Penelope - or Pen - is running away from her aunt and uncle to escape their plot to marry her to her fish-faced cousin to keep her large dowry in the family.

Pen tells Richard she owns a house in Somerset and intends to make her way there to seek the help of a childhood friend. She is about to turn and leave, but Richard is not quite drunk enough for his common sense to have completely abandoned him. He insists that Pen can’t possibly wander the streets of London alone, late at night, dressed as a boy and tells her he will escort her to Somerset. On their journey, the pair cross paths with a jewel thief, a Bow Street Runner and even a dead body, and Richard finds himself having to constantly think on his feet to be able to keep up with Pen’s seemingly endless capacity for spinning yarns and finding trouble – and finds himself having the most fun he’s ever had in his life.

The plot is fairly thin, it’s true, but as is the case with so many of Georgette Heyer’s books, the plot is of secondary importance to the style, the wit and the wonderful sense of the ridiculous. The story is part farce, part mystery, and it races along with feel of a runaway train. The dialogue sparkles, with exchanges between Richard and Pen that are full of humour and affection, showing that despite the disparity in their ages, they’re very well-matched. I’m not someone who is bothered by the twelve year age gap – Emma Woodhouse is sixteen years younger than Mr Knightley, and if it’s good enough for her (and Jane Austen), then it’s good enough for me!

Richard, the eponymous Corinthian is a charming hero – unflappable, funny and kind, with an air of quiet strength and competence about him that is very attractive. I’m not a fan of very young heroines, and Pen is just seventeen, but while she’s certainly got that air of invincibility that so often comes with youth, she’s not stupid or insensitive. She’s got gumption and a degree of self-awareness that makes her seem a little more mature.

There’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters, from the cant-spouting jewel thief to the insipid young woman Pen’s friend is determined to marry, and the various members of Richard’s almost-fiancée’s family. The author’s gift for biting wit and subtle irony brings them all into sharp focus.

I’ve never heard of narrator Georgina Sutton before, but when I saw that she’s recently narrated a version of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, I was sure I was in for a treat. Naxos AudioBooks has done a stupendous job in matching narrators to books with their Heyer recordings, and this one is no exception. Ms Sutton is absolutely superb, bringing all the characters vividly to life in a performance that is nothing short of virtuosic. The aforementioned jewel thief is a character straight out of a Dickens novel, and Ms Sutton absolutely relishes his slang-laden dialogue. She later affects a perfect simpering breathiness for a rather drippy secondary love-interest, and her portrayal of the Honourable Melissa’s brother Cedric is completely over-the-top and utterly hilarious. Richard’s mother is a woman so languid it’s a wonder she can even get out of bed of a morning. Ms Sutton’s characterisations of the two principals are spot on, too. She adopts a slightly lower pitch and a very measured delivery for Richard that perfectly reflects the world-weary persona he presents to the world, and which contrasts brilliantly with Pen’s seemingly endless capacity for wonder and fascination with everything around her.

This is one of the most delightful audio experiences I’ve had in a while. Ms Sutton has a real affinity for the material and the energy and joyousness that shine through with every word make The Corinthian a must-listen for fans of historical romance, Georgette Heyer and romance audiobooks alike. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mela.
1,417 reviews175 followers
November 7, 2022
One of the lighter versions of GH. It was a mix of an adventure and romance, of course in the classic Heyer's style. One of the shorter. I think, next to Arabella it is a good choice for your first GH novel.

There were all elements of Heyer wit and wisdom. What I liked the most (what I found the most interesting) in this one:

--> The pressure that Richard felt, from his family and the society, to get married. It was intriguing that he was inclined to do it. Of course, he took the first opportunity to escape, but still, I got the feeling he would have married Melissa.

--> The language and the world of thieves that I could see here, although it was just a glimpse. Thanks to it Heyer created an entertaining adventure.

--> The subtext, that Richard and Pen (as a boy) could have been considered as a homosexual couple (in the eyes of a stranger). Other sexualities (save for heterosexuality) don't exist in Heyer's novels. So it was a refreshing suggestion/thought.

--> In this story, Heyer created a bit different couple. I am not going to do here psychoanalysis, but there are different people/personalities in the world and they need a different mate to be happy. And they have the right to be happy. Period. (There was a reason why Richard didn't find love earlier...)

My general outline/summarize:

* Penelope Creed (17) - nice-looking but not beautiful, temperamental, rather silly
* Richard Wyndham (29) - handsome, sensible, calm, witty

--> As I have written, it was a mix of an adventure and a romance.
--> The first meeting and the ending scene were splendid/memorable.
--> Words that I will associate with this novel: 'brat' and 'the necklaces'.
--> Some other characters (besides two main) really well written: Cedric, George, Piers, Jimmy Yarde.

[PS Fourth re-read book by GH and again I increase the rating from 4 to 5 stars. Even if I see the difference between 'The Corinthian' and 'The Masqueraders' or 'The Foundling' - considering an adventure side, or between this one and e.g. 'Devil's Cub' or 'Venetia' - considering a romance, it was still amazing reading and a great time. The time that no other author is capable to give me.]

--------- Review after my first reading: ---------

Heyer is a master of her genre. She wrote great dialogues, humorous situations and conversations. Yes, her books are a little predictable [I mean her romances]. One knows there will be a happy ending but what is going on between the beginning and the end of the book is often very surprising. One can also find many similarities in characters from different books. But, let's be honest - people have many similarities. And there isn't a crime that an author likes some sort of heroes. Every book has own idea, own root of the story. Most of all, there is always much fun and a nice evening with her book.

I have read eight novels [romances] by Georgette Heyer. I classify her books into three groups: the best ["The Grand Sophy", "These Old Shades", "Devil's Cub"], really good ["Arabella", "Venetia", "The Corinthian"] and good ["Frederica", "Friday's Child"]. I haven't read a bad novel by this author.

There is a mystery and a crime in "The Corinthian". It isn't typical for Heyer romances. We have two characters who are seeing a need and an opportunity for freedom, at least a little freedom or some free time. Going in and going out from problems can be not only funny but also can get closer to each other.

It isn't "The Grand Sophy" with her twists and many great characters [and that end!]. It isn't "These Old Shades" or "Devil's Cub" with brilliant male-heroes who make you like those types. But you have all that you can expect from Georgette Heyer. And a tempo of the story is steady or increasing, never boring.

My quote from this book:

"You're Beau Wyndham! Well, I'll be damned!'
'The prospect,' said Sir Richard, bored, 'leaves me unmoved"

Everybody who loves Heyer will see her in this immediately.
Profile Image for Andrea.
881 reviews132 followers
March 30, 2021
Definitely one of the more hilarious (and slightly ridiculous) Heyers, and also one of my favorites!

In which a bored, 29-year-old Corinthian finds himself harangued by the females of his family to finally settle down and produce an heir, and on the verge of sacrificing himself on the altar of matrimony (to a female described by most as "The Iceberg", no less) decides to drown his sorrows. Stumbling home drunk, a young girl dressed as a boy, escaping from a window by the means of knotted sheets, literally lands in his arms. Amused by tales of horror of an aunt forcing her to marry a cousin with the face of a fish, and a strange feeling of kinship with her, he decides the gentlemanly thing to do is to escort her, disguised as his "nephew", to her childhood friend, whom she intends to marry.

What follows is a madcap romp in which our hero finds himself embroiled in a burglary, discovers a murder, facilitates an elopement, befriends a thief, and maybe, against all odds, realizes that the thing he had sworn did not exist quite literally landed in his lap - now all he has to do is convince his love that you really can fall in love with someone in three days.
Profile Image for Andrea.
Author 25 books780 followers
October 5, 2017
The blurb, focusing as it does on the innocence of Penn, tends to put me off this book, but the story itself is a great deal of fun. Penn is a little naive, but she's also the sort of girl who reacts to being in a stage coach accident with delight at the adventure.

By putting on a boy's clothes, Penn gets to participate in the adventures as well, and greets almost every circumstance with unimpaired good spirits. I particularly enjoy her opinion of her former swain and his new inamorata.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 29 books5,609 followers
December 29, 2019
Ah! The first Georgette Heyer I ever heard of, the second I ever read! And now I listened to it, and it was just as hilarious. Yes, Richard is twelve years older than Pen, but she has her heart set on a life of adventure, something to which he does not object, and both of them are plagued by horrible relations! Truly a perfect match!
Profile Image for Tweety.
433 reviews198 followers
March 20, 2015
3 1/2

I don't know what to think. The characters are top notch as usual with Heyer and the humor is as amusing as ever. But the plot! I don't know which part was more unbelievable. Penelope running away in men's clothing, the adventures by stagecoach or the elopement of one very silly secondary couple.

I cringe to say this about my beloved Heyer. But I've got to say it. Of all her books that I have read, however far fetched they maybe, she makes it work. But this one takes the cake. And I don't think it worked for me. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't believe it. Her other books felt more likely, even when they were unusual situations, this one just didn't do that for me. If I could have gotten past my disbelief it would have been fine. I just kept seeing this as if it was really happening and saying "No, No, No! Not in a million years!" However, truth is stranger than fiction so no doubt in a different mood I could read this without any qualms. I really think the bizarre case with the Bow Street Runner was really too much.

The Good,
My favorite character was a scamp. Cedric, the drunkard, the sponge and completely humorous pest. He was quite honest about his faults, on one occasion he told the Richard not to marry his sister and that if he did marry his sister he, Cedric would sponge off him for the rest of his days and that if Richard married her despite his warning he would be a greater fool than he'd thought.

Richard was definitely a Corinthian. In fact I didn't like him much to start since he was so into his dratted cloths. By the end I did, but just not enough to raise my rating. I found him easily amused which I liked, since it unbuttoned him a bit. Overall thought, not a fav. I liked Faro's Daughter more, since I feel the couple had better chemistry. Speaking of which, this book only covers about a weeks worth of time.

Pen, she was adorable, if reckless and terribly innocent. Also, she is wonderfully sure of herself, she has a magnificent imagination. The stories she comes up with! So mind blowing and nearly always funny. She and Cedric are the life of the book and I just wish the plot had been a a bit different so I could enjoy it more.

Anyway, go into this book expecting bizarre, ridiculous and unrealistic but humorous adventures with a wild young chap called "Pen"

PG nearly no violence,few swears and the only thing bumping this up to a PG is that some people may not like that at the end the hero kisses Penelope who is still in boys cloths in front of a stagecoach full of people. I admit that felt kinda silly to me. Just unrealistic I guess. But, it fiction so enjoy the ride!
Profile Image for Mitticus.
986 reviews209 followers
March 1, 2019
Este es el primer libro que he leido de esta autora, de quien se dice inventó el estilo de novela romántica de regencia. Y ya veo de donde pudo servir de ejem inspiración para Barbara Cartland.

Se trata de más bien una comedia romántica, con un soltero rico al que presionan para casarse y la noche en que se da ha dado por vencido al respecto, viene a caerle casi encima una jovencita que huye para no casarse. De ahi mientras esta un poco pasado de copas decide seguir con la corriente y emprenden unas 'aventuras' mientras hacen varios comentarios divertidos de todo lo que va pasando y de otros de su sociedad; donde muy a la Austen van todos detrás de la posición y el dinero. Lo del pillo simpático viene igual de perillas.

Simpática y entretenida. El final si me viene un poco abrupto.
Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books70 followers
September 16, 2012
This book is a treasure trove of laughter. It should be used in laugh therapy.
Sir Richard Wyndham is a twenty-nine-year-old Corinthian – wealthy, sophisticated, handsome, and supremely bored with his untroubled, aristocratic existence. He boxes like a champion, drives his horses like an Apollo, and dresses to the nines.
He has only one gripe: his mother and sister keep accosting him to get married. He doesn’t wish to, so he drowns his gloom in brandy. Later, after getting ultimately drunk, he wanders the streets of London and wallows in self-pity, until he catches a girl, seventeen-year-old Pen Creed, dangling out of a window of her aunt’s house on a too short a sheet.
Pen, disguised as a boy, is set on avoiding a distasteful marriage to her cousin, who “has a face like a fish.” She wants to have an adventure.
From the moment she falls into Richard’s arms, boredom becomes the least of his worries. Pen, an enterprising young woman, enmeshes them both in a series of crazy imbroglios. As soon as they escape a thief, they get saddled with a stolen diamond necklace. Then Pen’s aunt comes in pursuit, and Richard has no choice but to lie to the shrewish woman. Then an irate father of a neighborhood beauty accuses Pen, who is still dressed as a boy, of trifling with his innocent daughter. Then a Bow Street runner almost claps Pen in jail. You get the drift.
Richard has his hands full with his mischievous charge. With poise and patience, he extricates her from one scrape after another, but the more time he spends with Pen, the deeper he tumbles in love with her. She is friendly and compassionate, naïve and resourceful. Always full of hair-raising ideas, she lets her imagination fly unfettered and charms the socks out of the world-weary playboy Richard. Without meaning to, she teaches him to enjoy life again.
These two protagonists dance a merry gavotte around each other. She pretends he is her uncle/tutor/cousin/trustee and treats him with easy affection. She doesn’t even realize she is in love with him until the very end. He knows his mind earlier in the story but can’t declare his heart because he wouldn’t take advantage of an inexperienced girl.
To this charismatic duo, the author added a dozen eccentric secondary characters and a plot that wounds itself like a demented corkscrew, full of absurd allegation and mistaken identities. The dialog is fast and witty, and the food, as always in Heyer’s novels, is delicious. Together, they form the best recipe for a light and sparkly literary masterpiece.
Definitely one of the best Heyer’s novels.

Profile Image for Luisa Knight.
2,727 reviews684 followers
January 22, 2020
If you've ever read Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and have seen Julie Andrews play Maria von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," then you know you'll be in for a treat with this book!

Several of Wilde's plays were known for their remarkable wit and comical plot twists and in "The Corinthian" Heyer matches, and quite possibly surpasses, these wonderfully. I was anticipating a straight-forward little adventure story so was surprised and delighted with how many times the plot circled and twisted around to make quite fun and hilarious knots for the characters to get out of. Couple that with Heyer's classic writing prose and it makes for a fabulous read.

The main character, Penelope, is such a hoot too and truly reminds me of Julie Andrews playing Maria von Trapp. Her mannerisms, an innocence that can get her into scrapes, a joyful exuberance that can't be dimmed and a desire for adventure ... yes, Penelope is a great character. And so is the Corinthian too, but I won't spoil your awakening to him.

Cleanliness: the words "d*mn" and "God" and their variations were used a good handful of times. A girl dresses in boy's clothing to disguise herself - as a result there is a situation about sharing a bedroom with a man (which she is able to avoid) and later to a crowd, it looks like a man and boy are embracing/kissing to which someone remarks about what the world is coming to.

*Note: I listened to the audio version of this book so this Cleanliness Report may not be as thoroughly detailed as other reports are. Also, some inappropriate content may have been forgotten/missed and not included in the report.

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that!

So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! You’ll see my updates as I’m reading and know which books I’m liking and what I’m not finishing and why. You’ll also be able to utilize my library for looking up titles to see whether the book you’re thinking about reading next has any objectionable content or not. From swear words, to romance, to bad attitudes (in children’s books), I cover it all!
Profile Image for Andrea.
881 reviews132 followers
November 19, 2022
Story: 5 stars

Narration: 2 stars

I loooooove this book. One of my favorite Heyers ever. I mean. Dandy who gets wasted because his mom and sister have ganged up on him and demanded he marry a woman described by most as an "cold" finds young woman dressed as a boy climbing out of her window, determined to run off to her childhood friend and marry him before her horrid aunt can make her marry her horrid cousin? What is that if not hilarious.

But the narration was only so-so. There was no real nuance to the narration, no different voices , the voice sometimes did not reflect what the character was saying at all tone-wise... Shame really, because at least the narrator had fun and smiled a lot. I just wish her performance had been more nuanced.
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,368 reviews44 followers
January 25, 2021
After reading Jennifer Kloestor’s Blog (https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...)
I decided a reread was in order despite the novels piling up that I’ve still to read. But hey, every now and again a fun read and a segue into a read that is lovingly remembered is needed. (BTW Kloestor had published works on Heyer and was author of the delightful Jane Austen’s Ghost)
The Corinthian has it all. Runaways, ‘bad’ men, an autocratic charming hero, a harum scarum young miss escaping a forced marriage, highwaymen and so much more.
Despite only being fourteen chapters long, the story is woven brilliantly with a humorous plot that’s both believable and charming.
And it’s the 100th anniversary this year 2021 for the publication of Heyer’s first book, The Black Moth. (Available free on Project Gutenberg)
Profile Image for Nick Imrie.
287 reviews123 followers
March 1, 2018
A very sweet and jolly Heyer novel.

This is one of her earlier romances. In some intangible way, it doesn't quite sparkle like her later ones. The wit isn't quite as incisive, maybe. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it; I think it may be one of my favourite Heyer regencies because it is so sweet and the characters are so likeable. Innocent and brave heroine Pen and handsome and honourable hero Richard are both charmers and I was thoroughly rooting for their love story. That's the danger with Heyer - she sometimes oversteps the mark from sharp to spiteful, and some of her main characters can be rather shallow and nasty people. But not here, these two are lovely. Even the side characters are lovely - some of them are stock Heyer characters: the overbearing sister and her hen-pecked husband; the silly young teenage lovers; wise old matriarchs (and fainting hypochondriac mothers), but all delicately drawn to be just amusing enough without being overbearing.

The plot is one of the her madcap farces: cross-dressing, broken carriage wheels, misdirected letters! All very enjoyable stuff. And as this is one of her earlier works and she was still leaning on her experience as a mystery writer there's also a murder and a missing necklace, just for fun.

Highly recommended for anyone looking to while away an afternoon.
Profile Image for Lynn Spencer.
1,194 reviews80 followers
December 3, 2015
4.5 stars Oh, that was so much fun!

I don't usually go for "chick in pants" romances, but this one was exceptionally well done. The fashionable Sir Richard Wyndham is desperately seeking a way out of offering marriage to the icy Melissa Brandon. Not only does she fail to appeal to him(his family has wanted the two to marry for years), but her feckless family seems to be tumbling into financial ruin.

Penelope Creed is trying to escape as well. While Richard's family has been trying to browbeat him into marrying Melissa, her aunt has been trying to force heiress Penelope to marry her son.

It all comes to a head when Penelope dresses as a boy and tries to climb out of her window. Richard, passing by, rescues her and very quickly sees through her disguise. He eventually helps her improve her disguise and the two go off together as uncle and nephew (or tutor and student, or any of several other ruses) on a journey to return Penelope to her home, where she thinks she will be welcomed with open arms.

Along the way we encounter an odd variety of fellow travellers, jewel thieves and murder. There is also hilarious dialogue and a bit of romance. The story isn't even vaguely realistic, but it's great comedy.
Profile Image for Lady Wesley.
924 reviews314 followers
January 31, 2022
Another Georgette Heyer romance that's more a comedy of manners and would make a great play. Another May/December couple, although here it might be May/October. Another abrupt ending as the hero and heroine share their first kiss. Cute story, but I don't dig chicks-in-pants very much.

But -- I'm awarding an extra star because of the stellar narration by Georgina Sutton, who sounds like she was having a blast with this one. She has a wide variety of voices to fit the many characters who appear in this novel, and each one was just right.

As with Black Sheep, listening is way more fun than reading.
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews3,976 followers
September 16, 2008
One of my favorite Heyers. It involves the urbane, cultured hero-young, unconventional heroine combination, and its done very well here. Penelope Creed literally falls into Richard Wyndham's life late one night, determined to run away from an oppressive marriage to a creepy cousin to find shelter with an old friend of hers. Richard decides to run away with her, as there is a marriage of his own he would like to escape. Hijinx in the form of cross-dressing, escaped criminals, mistaken identity and saving people from their own dramatics ensue.
Profile Image for Abigail Bok.
Author 4 books190 followers
March 20, 2018
If you’re in the mood for a mad romp through early nineteenth-century Britain, this book should satisfy. It’s one of Georgette Heyer’s earlier novels, but it shows her confidence and mastery of her unique gifts.

Sir Richard Wyndham is a fabulously wealthy but bored ornament to London society. He is being hounded by his family to marry and set up his nursery (must have an heir, you know). Somewhat implausibly, the girl they have chosen for him is the daughter of an aristocratic but impoverished and dissolute house (how they imagine Sir Richard’s association with the Brandons would do him any credit is beyond me). Sir Richard comes within inches of proposing, but fate intervenes in the shape of a young girl who literally drops from the sky into his arms. She’s dressed as a boy and is running away from home; in a drunken moment Sir Richard goes off with her on her adventure.

Of course, the adventure she has in mind turns into a far more complex undertaking than either had envisioned, and soon all sorts of crazy twists and coincidences ensue.

Heyer has a gift for anchoring improbable storylines in psychologically credible characters, so readers believe even at the most ridiculous points in the tale. Pen Creed and Sir Richard are eminently believable people, as well as very charming, so I was happy to go along for this ride.

Heyer’s plotting skills were still a bit shaky at this point in her career, so there are characters who get built up at the start only to disappear, and at least one who appears very late in the story as little more than a deus ex machina. But these are thoughts that occurred to me only in hindsight: while I was reading I was having way too much fun to cavil.
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,487 reviews29 followers
March 30, 2019
Lovely madcap Regency romance. Fabulous dialogue. Classic Heyer.

Sir Richard Wyndham is the world-weary, always perfectly attired gentleman in the book's title. He's being urged by concerned family members to wed Miss Melissa Brandon and sire an heir. Miss Brandon has the proper breeding as the daughter of the exalted Lord Saar, and Sir Richard's mother and sister insist that the two have had an assumed betrothal for years. The facts that Miss Brandon's family is on the brink of financial ruin and that the lady herself is a veritable iceberg are of no consideration.

Ready to bow to the inevitable, Sir Richard gets himself good and snockered, which is quite unusual for him. In his drunken rambling, he comes across Miss Penelope Creed, who is in the process of escaping marriage to her disgusting cousin by climbing out her window using a rope fashioned from her bedsheets. She hasn't calculated the distance correctly, and Sir Richard is there at the right time and at the right place to catch her. Pen is a naive, bubbly 17-year-old who plans to travel and find her old friend Piers Luttrell; they'd made a childhood vow to marry each other, and she's ready to find him and elope.

Thus begins a wild adventure for them both, especially for Sir Richard, whose life to this point has always been exceedingly orderly and predictable. Their travels are neither. As Sir Richard himself later says, "We were over-turned in a ditch; we became - er - intimately acquainted with a thief; we found ourselves in possession of stolen goods; assisted in an elopement; and discovered a murder. I had not dreamt life could hold so much excitement."

Wonderful, wonderful book! Read it!
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,229 followers
January 5, 2018
That was delightful! Less romantic than some of Heyer's other stories but what it lacks in romance, it makes up for with adventure in spades. I'm a sucker for a girl who attempts to pass for a boy in order to escape some hideous fate, and Penn's story was rather adorable in this way. And Richard, oh, how he endeared himself to me as her protector, despite running away from a distasteful fate himself. There's just nothing quite like reading a Georgette Heyer novel. It saddens me to no end that I've nearly come to the end of my library/Hoopla's offerings.
Profile Image for Mary Pagones.
Author 14 books90 followers
January 4, 2021
This is just a cracking read, from start to finish. Richard Wyndham, the titular Corinthian, is a typical Heyer hero-a masculine dandy-but with a refreshing sense of humor, intelligence, wit, and vulnerability. Penelope Creed spends most of the book dressed as a boy, but she’s not as meek and deferential to the hero as the crossdressing heroine of These Old Shades. Best of all, this book is just plotted beautifully, and there is a great page-turning narrative to support Heyer’s witty dialogue.
Profile Image for Renee M.
833 reviews114 followers
November 27, 2017
Lots of smiles for this light-hearted romp, even before the ingenue climbs out a window disguised as a boy. And there's stolen diamonds, too! :D
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