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Rich and handsome, darling of the town, the hope of ambitious mothers and despair of his sisters, the Marquis of Alverstoke at seven-and-thirty sees no reason to put himself out for anyone. Until a distant connection, ignorant of his selfishness, applies to him for help.

When Frederica Merriville brings her three younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, Charis, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society. Lord Alverstoke can't resist wanting to help her Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance but he finally finds himself far from bored.

384 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1965

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About the author

Georgette Heyer

184 books4,602 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 1,998 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
October 8, 2020
The Marquis of Alverstoke is bored.


He's especially bored with family and friends who try to get him to do things he doesn't want to do, like, say, put on a massive ball to launch his nieces in society. So when a distant, not-wealthy relative, Frederica Merriville, shows up, introduces herself and asks him to help introduce her beautiful younger sister into London society, he's really not inclined to help.


But then Frederica's young brothers show up, and 13 year old Felix quizzes the Marquis on the latest fascinating technology, like locomotives and blast-pipes and pneumatic lifts, and after that her sweet and gorgeous (if rather airheaded) younger sister Charis appears, the epitome of all that is Regency-era loveliness, and it occurs to Alverstoke that it would be quite amusing to hold that come-out ball and launch Charis into society along with his nieces. Charis's beauty will outshine his nieces' and that will give his bossy and insistent sisters absolute fits. Hah--serves them right!


The Merriville family is lively and likeable and a little bit crazy, and as they get into one scrape after another and Alverstoke somehow ends up being the one who rescues them, time after time, he finds himself getting more and more attached to all of them. Particularly to Frederica herself, who is so busy trying to keep all of her younger brothers in line and rescue them from their escapades and get Charis married off to a sharp and well-off man and keep her away from the men with pockets to let (i.e., not rich), that she never notices Alverstoke is gradually getting very interested in her.


Or if she does notice, he can't tell if she really likes him in a romantic way or not, or if she'll accept his suit. And suddenly the bored Marquis of Alverstoke is no longer bored.


This is a delightful and charming novel! The Merriville family is the best, adventurous and lovable and a little off the wall. The romance is pretty understated (typical for Heyer). Some interesting history about hot air balloons and other technology of the time, brought to you courtesy of Frederica's young brother Felix. Additional fun adventures courtesy of the noble if occasionally ill-behaved Baluchistan hound.


4.75 stars. My only quibble: Even if she does kind of have tunnel vision about her family concerns. :)

Update: Feb. 2018 reread, just because I needed a literary pick-me-up. This solidified Frederica as one of my top 3 Georgette Heyer books. The main characters are intelligent, a little older (24 and 37), and their dialogue as they tease each other is hilariously witty. Frederica doesn't try to play Alverstoke; she just wants to be friendly, and he finds her so unusual among his acquaintances that he can't help being intrigued. And then ... well, read it for yourself. :)
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews675 followers
December 27, 2018
"A man need not be dull merely because he is respectable!"
"No, he need not be, but he often is"

I am afraid Heyer was biased  in writting Frederica. In that she seemed to try to cram as many loveable characters as possible in this one novel!

The cast here, to me, were extraordinary: Frederica, His Lordship, Jessamy and Felix. Oh Felix you adorable little genius thing you..


Even minor characters like Mr. Trevor or even Mrs. Jersey who was on screen no more than 5 times. they too were intriguing. It did appear to be unfair to her other works, no? I mean after this, my expectation will be unusually high whenever I pick up a Heyer book.

Frederica was a spectacular lady lead: sincere while never boring, naturally spirited without being over the top, compassionate yet extremely practical. As close as perfect in Regency setting, I think.

Oh what I have to mention is that the book was hilarious! The banters were witty and realistic, especially between Frederica and His Lordship. But also with her duo of huggable little bros.

I am just charmed  by them, I must have smiled all throughout reading this. Ahhh~ Good Times.

i would definitely recommend Frederica for readers who want to pick up their first Georgette Heyer book.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,634 reviews5,009 followers
December 2, 2020
Frederica is an old maid. She's been "on the shelf" for years and at this point in her life is mainly concerned with making sure her much lovelier younger sister finds the right man. She has no such ambitions for herself, as she knows her eligibility has long since come and gone. But she's fine with her lot in life! She's been mistress of her household for quite a while, and is quite used to holding the reins and looking after her younger sister and two younger brothers as only a devoted mother could. Frederica is destined for a life full of family, but a life that is essentially devoid of any romantic love. Our poor heroine may be a stolid, capped matron, but she remains spry and quick-witted despite her advanced years. Frederica is 24 years old.

Vernon is the Marquis of Alverstoke. He's been an eligible bachelor for well over a decade and would prefer to go to his grave as such. Far from a loving sibling, he has a vague affection for one sister, thinks nothing at all about a second, and is actively indifferent towards a third. They all know him to be a selfish rake and lover of married ladies easily cast aside when bored. Boredom is perhaps the chief cross that the Marquis bears. If someone begins to bore him, it's over. If he suspects someone could bore him, it won't even begin. Boring people also include individuals like debutantes, commoners, his boring heir, and all of his boring nieces and nephews - most whose names he's never bothered to learn. Vernon is the hero of the novel.

Georgette Heyer wrote a book that I knew would be a delicious treat within pages. Every sentence elegantly in place, the comedy both subtle and broad, the characters charming or outrageous or sometimes both. This is a master of the form, writing in a relaxed style, always making sure period detail is front and center without overwhelming the plot, always making certain her story's various parts are kept carefully moving along while not feeling rushed. It is like she wrote this smiling; I certainly smiled more times than I can count. Frederica herself reminded me of another of her heroines: the fabulous Venetia, although she is her own unique individual. She has a certain attractive gravity that is unlike Venetia's effervescence. Lord Alverstoke reminded me of another of her heroes: the Duke of Avon, although he is also his own unique individual. His apathy and especially his quick ability to be utterly bored by boring people charmed me (perhaps because that latter trait reminded me of myself). There were many times I sat back, amused, that this was actually the novel's central character.

This was all set to be a happy 4 star book, until the accident, and the farm, and the showing of true, hidden colors by Lord Alverstoke. Hidden from himself as well! That sequence was incredibly moving, and deepened the novel in a way that I did not expect. Maybe a couple manly tears were even shed. And then the story moved back into light, fizzy comedy - and did not suffer for it. The richness of the book is admirable. Voilà, 5 stars!
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,692 reviews299 followers
December 24, 2022
I was curious to find out how this book would fare on a reread after six years, and the answer turned out to be: not much better. Slightly worse, in fact. Looks like the older I become, the less tolerance I have for this kind of stories and their brand of humour.

When I first read this, my seventh novel by Heyer, I said it had become apparent that Georgette Heyer was a hit or miss author for me, and not in an I loved all her books save this book way but following a consistent love this-hate that pattern. Save for These Old Shades and
Venetia, the pattern still holds now, cementing my conviction that this is an author best taken in small doses and, at least for me, better left unrevisited.

Frederica didn't escape the above pattern and was a miss the first time, and it's a bigger miss this second time. Normally, I am able to isolate the whys and hows for my lack of favourable response to a given book, and so it's clear to me that the main reason was more a matter of failing to engage me on its own merit. Is the plot engaging? No, not unless you like this specific type of fiction. Original? No, unless if you count having Alverstoke be the main character in spite of the book being named after the heroine, which deviates somewhat from Heyer's formula.

The second motive is a matter of been there, done that, that is: familiarity, the plot elements and the overall gist of the story has already been done by this author, so it was old oats to me; a second time won't make a favourable impact and even less so if it follows so shortly after another book with a similar plot that I considered better (Venetia).

Which leads me to the third reason: that reading it after a favourite makes it become like one of those terrible second-part books in a series that you read after a great first book, and then wish they hadn't been written, or written better. In hindsight, the same happened with "Devil's Cub," which besides having its own flaws--and it does have some huge flaws--had to live up to Monseigneur and Léonie. Similarly, this book followed "Venetia," and although the story itself is different, the underlying theme and plot is still the same: lively country girl enchants jaded middle-aged aristocratic rake who falls in love with her despite feeling he's not worthy of her, and gets her brilliant wunderkind of a little brother, whom the ex-rake naturally comes to adore, foisted on him. Yes, I get that this is a fairly common trope and that many, many, many other authors have done it, even Heyer loves to recycle her plots. But precisely therein lies the issue. when repeated by the same author, a plot is bound to either work for you or not work for you, no middle ground.

Perhaps that's also at least partially why I like some of her books and not others. I'll never know if had I read "Frederica" before "Venetia," I'd have gone the route that some seem to have followed in disliking TOS after reading DC, but even on its own and leaving all else aside, the plot in this novel failed to engage me. The Baluchistan hound incident was supposed to be fun, but instead of laughing I was thinking of that time when I actually witnessed a bovine stampede from the safety of a car, and it was no longer a joke, just to name once famous scene, and besides the dog-rake banter is already overused even for Heyer. And so on, and so forth.

The female character was the most interesting thing in the novel, and to me she was the redeeming aspect. She's the sensible one that takes care of everyone despite not being the eldest, the one that worries about everyone's well-being and looks for favourable positions for her siblings, etc. I can see why she's well-liked. I suspect she might be the reason this novel is so popular, too, but I can't swear by it. It's a pity, however, that she is accompanied on-stage with an ensemble of crazies and fools: her sister is the stereotypical empty-headed beauty and her brothers alternate between being irresponsible brats and annoying brats. And I don't think the male lead is up to her level, either. The man is rather shallow, unlikable, and petty, and in spite of all that I still can't see why exactly he's got that bad reputation in society--Heyer usually lets readers know what her rakes have done to deserve being labelled rakes, but here? Unless I missed the explanation, I failed to grasp what Alverstoke's bad reputation is based on exactly. It seemed that he was more a self-centred and egot man at odds with equally egotistical sisters, save one, that learns to be somewhat less selfish.

And here comes another problem for me: I found it hard to swallow that a man so selfish he wouldn't care a fig for his sisters to the point of punishing the children for the mothers' sins would all of a sudden agree to selflessly sponsor a family of complete strangers from the country, just because a young woman pleads to him prettily, when in his own family he has at least one niece, Kitty, who adores him, but he doesn't seem to care even for her. Unbelievable, if you ask me, and why exactly it should be up to Frederica to redeem him from his own character flaws? It's the typical bad boy that's just a selfish arsehole suddenly becomes a saintly and selfless benefactor because some skirts moved enticingly in front of him.

I didn't find the romance compelling, either. There's hardly any of it, because Alverstoke spends so much time gazing at his (well covered by a well ironed and starched shirt( navel and gazing despairingly at the Merriville brats. It's only after we're past half the book and nearing the end when there's finally some feeling, and it's already late by then to care.

Maybe I'm past the point where I can take Heyer in small doses. It's simply no longer a type of romance I can be invested in.

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews484 followers
June 4, 2015
*Warning! Beware of spoilers, hyperventilation, and reader who got way too intense*

"'She may not be a beauty, like Charis, but she's - she's'
'Worth a dozen of Charis!' supplied his lordship."

Oh. My. Goodness!! Where do I even start?! First of all, I just feel it incumbent to say that, screw having one favourite Georgette Heyer book, because that is simply impossible. Every time I finish one of her novels, I think that I will never read another one that was just as amazing...and I get proved wrong every time.

I knew I would love Frederica way before I started it. Countless Heyer fans kept recommending it to me and telling me it was one of the best, and the blurb totally sounded like something I would enjoy. Bored cynic becomes un-bored by the arrival of country cousins who get into scrapes right on his doorstep? Huh yes, I think so! But I had not anticipated that I would find every single page delicious, and that the ending would leave me desperately wishing there was a sequel. I just love this book SO much! It was so clever, brilliant, touching, entertaining and plain good FUN!

To sum it up in a nutshell:

Alverstoke: I AM SO BORED.
Merriville family show up.
Frederica Merriville: Will you please launch Charis and me into society? :)
Alverstoke: Argh, fine.
Frederica: Thank you! How much money do I owe you?
Alverstoke: Don't worry about the money.
Charis Merriville: Can you please take us all to the maze?
Alverstoke: Argh, fine.
Charis: Thank you, thank you!! Words cannot express how thankful I am! HOW can I thank you??
Alverstoke: Just don't.
Jessamy Merriville: Can you please help me?! I am in a shocking scrape!!
Alverstoke: Argh, fine.
Jessamy: Thank you! How much money do I owe you?
Alverstoke: Don't worry about the money!
Harry Merriville: Thank you so much for helping out my siblings!! How much money do I owe you?
Alverstoke: Damn it, was it is with you all and money and thanks?!?!?!?
Felix Merriville: Can you please, pretty, pretty please, take me to the foundry??
Alverstoke: Argh, fine.
Felix: YAY!!! And it will be such a nice treat for you!!
Alverstoke: Damn it, I love these people.

I must say, witnessing the downfall of a cynic is an oddly satisfying and pleasant experience. There is something so very endearing about a hardened, cold and self-centered man whose heart slowly gets softened in the most unusual ways by the most unusual family! Heyer is famous for her great characterization, and in this novel, her characters are not just people in a story, they became real, so real that you come to know them, love them and predict their every move as if you'd been acquainted with them for years. You feel as though you'd really met them, and not just read about them in a book.

The aforementioned cynic, Lord Alverstoke, is definitely one of Heyer's best heroes. Not only is he fascinating, awe-inspiring, composed, and magnificent, but he was so well-developed and his evolution was so believable, that I couldn't get enough of him. Redeemed rakes or semi-rakes were always my thing, and I was left more than satisfied with his story. Plus, he was jaw-dropping sexy. Let's take a moment to appreciate some mental eye-candy.

"That coat of blue superfine was moulded over magnificent shoulders; and those clinging pantaloons in no way concealed the swell of muscles in his lordship's powerful thighs which unmistakeably proclaimed the athlete."

Just. So. Hot.

Indulged and pampered his whole life, the incredibly selfish Marquis never thinks about anyone but himself, and consequently finds everything and everyone a dead bore. His sisters bore him, social activities bore him, conventions bore him, political activities bore him, doing anything productive bores him. Even his dazzling bits of muslin bore him!

To do him credit though, he is a horse expert, a great athlete and is always dressed bang up to the nines without looking like a ridiculously dandified counter-coxcomb.

Basically, he's a total badass. And a really hot one at that.

What he needs is a distraction. A good one. Something that will make him want to bestir himself without having it feel like a chore. Something fun, pleasant, and just plain loveable. Something like...the Merriville family?

Passing off as Alverstoke's cousins, the Merrivilles are probably Heyer's most adorable family ever. I just need to give them all a hug. Felix is the most charming twelve-year-old, with his love and thirst for knowledge of all things machines, mechanics, steam-boats, aeronautics and I-don't-know-what-besides, and his habit of bursting into rooms making demands and looking like an orphan cast penniless upon the world to make sure he gets a positive answer. Never would I have imagined loving a kid of his age so much in a book, but he was the best. Jessamy was also extremely loveable, with his indecisive mind torn between preaching and having fun, his deep sense of duty and his love of horses. He was a great character and had really good scenes. Then, the beautiful, dumb-blonde Charis made a really nice foil for Frederica, because she was all looks and no brains, with a shy, too-good disposition, and a propensity for trying to please everyone all the time. And Frederica, the elder of the clan, is on the other hand only passably good-looking, but incredibly resourceful, brave, intelligent, witty, competent and simply wonderful. She always knows what to do, and she always has a laugh in her eyes. This is no green schoolroom chit who is on the catch for a husband and sulking and getting vapours for the merest trumpery. No way! Frederica is twenty-four, and considers herself as an old maid on the shelf, without charms or attractions whatsoever. She is old cattish.

"'I don't recall his name: it was so long ago!'
'Ah, yes!' he said sympathetically, 'Before you became so old cattish!'
'Old cattish-!' She checked herself, and then said, with a rueful smile: 'Oh dear! I suppose that is what I am!'"

The point of coming to London is for Charis to make a great match, not her! Frederica is not on the hunt for a husband. She has no thought of marriage at all. Only of Pork Jelly. ;)

And before he fully realizes what is going on, it is already way too late and the Marquis is embroiled beyond recovery.

From their very first meeting, Alverstoke finds himself acting against all his usual principles (in other words, he sits down and listens to Frederica instead of dying of boredom):

Frederica: Oh, hello, Cousin Alverstoke!! I didn't actually think you would come, but thank you so much for coming anyways, and please will you sit down, we have a few things to discuss, like your relationship with my late father, Charis's season, our presentation to the ton -
Alverstoke: (What kind of female is this????) First of all, what kind of house is this???
Frederica: It's called shabby-genteel! No worries though, no one will care! By the way, I don't appear like a managing female, right?!?
Alverstoke: Are you one?
Frederica: Well, I kind of have to be you know, the whole family depends on me! Anyways, will you please help us?
Alverstoke: We're not really connected for real, you know.
Frederica: Okay. I get it, you don't want to help. I'll manage.

"At these words, the Marquis, who had had every intention of bringing the interview to a summary end, irrationally chose to prolong it."

And there! In spite of himself he just can't tear himself away, and goes on having a lengthy conversation with Frederica, and then, I kid you not, they are interrupted by Felix, Jessamy and Charis, and he just sits there and chats with every body and finds that he likes them all, and as soon as he sees Charis he goes "I'm going to give THE BALL, after all!!" and it's like "Ooooh yeah, shit's about to get real!!!".

But before The Ball, there is this hilarious episode about Frederica bringing their dog Lufra to the Green Park, where she didn't know there were cows (because the deceitful guide-book forgot to mention it!) and Lufra starts chasing them and creates a crazy mayhem, so Frederica blurts out that the dog "belong to her cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke!" and everyone is like :O :O no way, that can't be his dog, but they nevertheless all end up on his doorstep before noon and while they are all waiting for his lordship's convenience in the library, Heyer feels the need to stop all the action in this very climatic scene, to show us exactly how my lord Alverstoke ties his neckcloth. I'm serious. The footman hurries upstairs to Alverstoke's dressing-room, and the valet lets him in after telling him to stay put and not make a single noise, because their master is tying his neckcloth. They both watch him, completely awe-struck, as he lets his head fall slowly, four or five times, in order to achieve beautiful yet unobtrusive folds. The scene is so completely unnecessary, but so awesome at the same time!

Then when he finally comes down:

Frederica: Ooh heyy there you are, I brought your dog back!
Alverstoke: *cleverly goes along with whatever Frederica is doing* Well thanks, but what the heck happened?!?!
Random people that followed Frederica to make sure the dog was really Alverstoke's: It's your dog for real??? A Barcelonan hound???
Frederica: Yup, and I'm never walking it ever again!
Alverstoke: From Barcelona?? Frederica, how can you be so bird-witted! Baluchistan, not Barcelona! Baluchistan!!
Frederica: *can barely restrain her chuckles* Oooh that's riiiight!!
Random hatchet-faced lady: Is Baluchistan even a place?!!?
Alverstoke: Sure! Let me show you on the globe!
Hatchet-faced lady: How on earth did that beast even get here?
Alverstoke: Smugglers ;)
Alverstoke: "I didn't smuggle the dog into the country; I merely caused him to be smuggled out of Baluchistan."

That last line is the actual line in the book. Is Alverstoke brilliant or what! He deserves some sort of improvisation medal or something. But the best part of that scene is Frederica completely cracking up at her own joke, after the random people leave and bursts out laughing saying "It's like Puss in Boots! 'My cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke!'" and Alverstoke is all confused, then he gets it and they laugh together and it's super adorable!!

Then, even though it's mainly to enrage his sisters, Alverstoke gives The Ball, aka a splendish party thrown in his ballroom at Alverstoke House, in order to present Charis and Frederica to the Ton (while it looks like he's presenting his niece Jane and his cousin Chloe). Lady Jersey is there, and she's a great friend of the family and she was super hilarious because she understood everything at a glance and loved to see Alverstoke's sisters and his cousin Mrs. Dauntry, seething with rage. It was so funny, and everyone else couldn't figure out why Alverstoke would help the Merrivilles in any way, least of all invite them to the ball.

But then, he doesn't just launch them all into the Ton. His job could have finished right there, but no, he rescues their dog, brings Felix to all sorts of places, lets Jessamy drive his horses, drives Charis around, all the time trying to convince himself that he's not falling for Frederica.

"The Marquis believed himself to be hardened against flattery. He thought that he had experienced every variety, but he discovered that he was mistaken: the blatantly worshipful look in the eyes of a twelve-year-old, anxiously raised to his, was new to him, and it pierced his defences."

Honestly though, who could resist Felix??

Felix: Cousin Alverstoke!! I have a super awesome idea!
Alverstoke: (Oh god, oh god, oh god!) Yes? What is it?
Felix: You and me should go together to the foundry!!!! To learn about steam-engines! Boats! Mechanics!
Alverstoke: (I honestly couldn't care less.) Dear boy, I know nothing about those things! How about my secretary takes you? He would loooooooove it!
Mr. Trevor: (DON'T YOU DARE!) Oh, no, actually, Lord Alverstoke knows wayyyyyy more than I do!
Alverstoke:(Dammit Charles you're not helping at all here!)
Felix: Cousin Alverstoke? Please? I want to go with you *raises melting blue eyes to him and makes orphan-cast-penniless-upon-the-world face*
Alverstoke: (WHY do you have to look at me like that!!!) Oh, alright, alright!
Felix: WOOHOOO, IT'S GOING TO BE AWESOME!!! Wait, you WANT to come right??
Alverstoke: YES, YES, OMGGGGGG YEEEEESSSSSS!!! (Maybe I exaggerated a little too much.)
Felix: You're the best!!
Mr. Trevor: (Thank God, allelujah!)
Alverstoke: (You are so paying for this, Charles).

Alverstoke's interactions with the whole family are just priceless. He's completely loveable when he talks to the boys, super in control when he deals with Charis, and just completely heart-melting whenever he talks to Frederica. They had so many awesome, lengthy conversations, and you can so see him falling for her because she's so awesome and entertaining, and it is just all so WONDERFUL!!!

The last half of the book was even better, when Felix coaxes Alverstoke into bringing him to watch a balloon ascension, and Alverstoke honestly couldn't care less, once again, and prays there will be a snowstorm or something in the middle of June, to save him from his terrible fate. :P Then his valet wakes him up bright and early, pulling the curtains and letting the sunshine in and "GOOD MORNING MY LORD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!!" and Alverstoke is all "FML", and even once he actually gets there and he sees there isn't a lot of wind, he goes "YAY, IT MIGHT BE CANCELLED! Woop, Woop! Wait. OMG, no! If they postpone it, FELIX WILL DRAG ME INTO THIS AGAIN ANOTHER DAY!! NOOOOO!".

It doesn't get postponed, but Felix grabs one of the ropes in an attempt to ride in the balloon (and succeeds, of course), but unfortunately when it lands in the country, they hit a tree and Felix falls unconscious, breaks a few ribs and contracts a rheumatic fever, which forces him to stay at a local farm for a few weeks, where Alverstoke and Frederica take turns nursing him, and fall madly in love with each other. Frederica doesn't realize it however, but Alverstoke certainly does, and one day, as they are taking a walk together, he "recklessly decided to take the plunge":

Alverstoke: *takes a deep breath* (come on man, you got this!) Frederica!
Frederica: *is too absorbed in her thoughts and doesn't hear him*
Alverstoke: (dammit this is not going well!) FREDERICA!



Lord Buxted: *Proposed to Frederica at a super inopportune moment*
Frederica: WHO THE HELL WOULD BE DUMB ENOUGH TO PROPOSE RIGHT NOW? (to Alverstoke) You'd never do that, would you?!
Alverstoke: Nooooooooooooo!!!!!! Neeeeeeveeeerrrrr!

I felt SO BAD for him!! By that time he's so hopelessly in love with her and just wants to propose, but right moment never seems to present itself. :( When they get back to London, Frederica nearly has a heart attack a few days later, because Charis has eloped with Endymion, Alverstoke's super-handsome cousin, who's as brainless as Charis. Alverstoke and his sister Eliza (the only awesome one!) are trying to comfort Frederica, when Charles Trevor bursts in and tells them that they are not married, because he saved the day.



Charles: Okay so, I got there in time for church and-
Alverstoke: Was Charis crying?
Charles: Maybe, I don't know, anyways, I waited until the "speak now or forever hold your peace part", then I yelled "THIS MARRIAGE CANNOT TAKE PLACE!" and-
Alverstoke: Now Charis was crying right?
Charles: Yeah, probably, anyways then we all went back to Endymion's house, then he freaked out, his mom freaked out and-
Alverstoke: Charis was crying!!
Charles: Anywayyyys, as I was saying, they are not married and everything it okay now!
Alverstoke: You really are awesome!
Frederica: Yes!!
Charles: *blushes*
Eliza: But heeyyy Vernon, speaking of which, when is your engagement, no, YOUR WEDDING going to happen already?
Alverstoke: Eliza, no, stop!
Charles: I was gonna say though...
Alverstoke: OH WERE YOU?! (that's the actual line from the book!)
Eliza: Well propose already!
Alverstoke: Can you let me do my own proposal omg!
Eliza: Okay, but Vernon, stop waiting for the perfect moment! TAKE THE MOMENT AND MAKE IT PERFECT! *leaves with Charles*
Alverstoke: I HATE SISTERS!!!!! But for real though, Frederica...
Frederica: *has been there all this time*

You don't really want to marry me...

Alverstoke: No, but my sisters, my friends and my secretary think I should! *wink*
Fredrica: But I have no thought of marriage! (actual line)
Alverstoke: Yeah, I know! All you think about is Pork Jelly!
Frederica: WHAT? You wanted to ask me THEN?
Alver: Well yeah, but then Pork Jelly happened. (actual line: "There is something very daunting about Pork Jelly!")

No joke, she really says that.

It's not just Pork Jelly darn it, it's restorative Pork Jelly!

Frederica is so awesome though, Alverstoke will NEVER EVER, EVER be bored for the rest of his life.

"He wished to spend the rest of his life with her, because she was the perfect woman he had never expected to encounter."

Awww!! <3 <3 They are one of my favourite literary couples ever, so well-matched and you can tell theirs is a love that will last because its foundations are solid and...Frederica will become a She-Marquis!! Woohoo :D :D

Regency-fans and other people out there, do yourselves a favour and pick up this wonderful romp set in England in the 1810's, it is SO good it's guaranteed to make you smile.

The audiobook, narrated by Clifford Norgate, is also highly entertaining, although Alverstoke sounds like he's 67 and not 37, and Frederica sounds a little too demure and not jovial enough. Her brothers are spot on though! I'm having a really good time reliving the story by listening to it. :)

"His lordship, in fact, previously ruthless on his own behalf, was now prepared to sacrifice the entire human race to spare his Frederica one moment's pain."

Goodness I love these people! <3 <3

Buddy read with Becca and Tweety!
Profile Image for Julie .
4,002 reviews58.9k followers
October 24, 2021
Frederica by Georgette Heyer is a 2009 Sourcebooks Casablanca publication. (Originally published in 1965)

Utterly charming!

The Marquis of Alverstoke, a confirmed bachelor, generously becomes the sponsor for his cousin, Frederica, who seeks his help in presenting her beautiful sister, Charis, into society. Once he lays eyes on the beauty, he goes out of his way to help her, but soon finds himself embroiled in Federica’s dramas, while becoming an unwitting father figure to her young brothers, who are currently in her charge.

Although Lord Alverstoke is easily bored, he is puzzled by his fondness for his delightful cousin and the pleasure he finds in spending time with her brothers.

Frederica’s concerns are always centered on her siblings and doing right by them, completely disregarding the prospect of finding a husband of her own. Yet, she occasionally finds herself shaking off stray thoughts of Lord Alverstoke.

When a shocking development commands Frederica’s attention, Charis is planning to marry a man her sister does not approve of….

I have been a very long break from Regency period historical romance. Recently, I’ve found myself in the mood to bring historical romance back into my reading rotation, while also working through some titles on my TBR list. I have read a few of Georgette Heyer’s novels in the past- mostly her mystery novels- but if one is looking for a nice, clean, polite regency romance, Heyer is certainly a ‘go-to’ author.

One knows what to expect from a regency romance- so of course, there’s a great deal of fluff here, but there are some moments of suspense and concern, and Lord Alverstoke’s character takes great stride, redeeming him of his shallow self-absorptions. Frederica is a lovely, vibrant character, and I really enjoyed her dialogue and spirit.

Overall, this was a nice change of pace for me. Heyer’s books are what I refer to as ‘pure’ regency romance. These are so fun to read from time to time- and are good for my mental state, as well! Yes, I think it is time to start adding more of these lovely stories back into my regular reading routine!

4 stars
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,901 reviews1,508 followers
September 28, 2021
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. I read it easily once a year. I'm afraid I'm going to gush all over this review, but I'll do my best to keep this coherent.

The winning feature of this book is the Merriville family, particularly as they enmesh themselves into the carefully ordered life of Lord Alverstoke. In stark contrast to his sisters, who value him mainly for his vast wealth, he finds himself captivated by these "mere connections" as they seem actually interested in him. Indeed, one of the recurring events is when one or another of the Merrivilles try to pay him back for something he has done for them—a novel experience for the Marquis.

Of the Merrivilles, Felix is the most engaging. His various London exploits are a charming background for most of the novel. But you end up liking Jessamy as well, for all he isn't half as charming as his younger brother. You can see how deeply important these two boys are to Frederica and it's clear that she couldn't possibly abandon them to their negligent oldest brother—which means that anybody who can't love them as well has no chance of winning her heart. It's a good thing, then, that Alverstoke becomes attached to them.

My favorite part of the book, however, is how little self-aware Frederica is. She is so caught up in her plans for her siblings that she truly doesn't see how Charis doesn't want the kind of marriage that Frederica plans for her. And the moment when Alverstoke points out to her what love is... such a great climax.

This book will forever be known in our family as "the one with the dog". I know you're curious so here's how it went to the best of my recollection:

Me: I know the Georgette Heyer book I want to read, but I can't remember the title.
Melissa: You really liked Frederica and it's been a while since you read that one.
Me: No, not that one.
Melissa: Do you remember any of the plot?
Me: It's the one with the dog. The guy calls it a "Baluchistan Hound".
Melissa: ... That's Frederica ...
Me: Are you sure?
Melissa: ...
Profile Image for Beverly.
785 reviews279 followers
March 8, 2019
Another great romance by Heyer, Frederica is smart, loyal, a wonderful sister to her younger sister and two younger brothers, and of course very pretty; although she doesn't give a fig about that. She has come to London to launch her teenage sister on to the marriage market. Charis is so stunningly beautiful and good-natured that Frederica hopes to make a splendid match for her.

Of course,nothing goes as planned,mostly because of her adventurous little brother, Felix (a wonderful creation) who is interested in new-fangled machinery and in his exuberance, creates a ton of misadventures and mix ups for Frederica and their new found cousin Lord Alverstoke who has kindly agreed to launch Charis with a debutante ball from his estate. Alverstoke is not doing it out of charity, he hopes to one up his sister's plain daughter, his niece, which is cruel. Our heroine and her 2 delightful and plain spoken brothers and their dog (a faithful, but reckless mutt) combine to teach their snobby cousin how life ought to be lived, in a warm, loving family's embrace.
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
785 reviews565 followers
April 7, 2020

Well here's one for the books! (For the books, I kill me!)

This beloved GH classic, previously a 5* for me, is the first GH where I'm revising my rating downwards since joining GR.

I'll get my reasons out of the way before I go on to the book's (many) positives.

But so much to like love about this book - a wonderful example of the friendship deepening to love genre. The story is ably helped on by it's secondary characters. My favourite is the prince of secretaries, Charles Trevor & I'm glad he is given his chance to shine in the book. But the stars of the book are the lively Merriville family (well, lively other than Charis - on this reading she certainly came across as insipid) Felix is GH's best portrayed child & she doesn't hit you over the head with the fact that he is gifted & will make his mark in the world.

While I now think Black Sheep is the best of GH's post 1960 books, I still warmly recommend this title.

Edition for the second read (did something wrong with trying to show a different edition, but this is the cover for the one I read!
Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Read with the Georgette Heyer fans Group & I just want to note;

📚 This is still the only Georgette Heyer where my rating has gone downwards since rereading on Goodreads. (albeit only by half a ⭐) The previous two reasons still stand - & I will add that Frederica

📚What I love
Augusta is a wonderful character - I enjoyed & appreciated her this time round. I think
This book is wonderful at showing family life - disfunctional (the Dauntrys) & loving (the Merriville siblings) It is documented that GH experienced a warmer version of family life after her son's first marriage to Suzie. Suzie came with two lively sons & Frederica's brother, Felix is believed to be based on at least one of them.

Once again, I still recommend this book.

Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,329 reviews29 followers
March 15, 2023
For me, this book is one of Heyer's best historical romances, set in Regency London 1818.

Frederica is a lovely story. Fun, heartwarming, and plausible. It's set primarily in London 1818 during an era of mechanical advancement: pedestrian curricles, hot air balloons, hydraulic pumps, steam engines (all woven into the story).

A jaded nobleman is beguiled by two thoroughly likable boys and their witty, warmhearted, and devoted sister. Frederica may not be a diamond of the first water, but she never bores Lord Alverstoke, not even when pondering restorative pork jelly.

Characterization is top notch. Heyer thoroughly endeared her two adolescent boys to me (loved their dog, Lufra, too). Even better, she masterfully transformed the initially cold, cynical, and self-interested Marquis of Alverstoke into a total luv — a man who would sacrifice the world to keep his Frederica from worry. Well, not the whole world. Not quite. (Note, he grows a heart, but never becomes a pushover.)

Heyer slowly develops relationships, and her style is subtle. For example, we learn from the POV of a minor character (Mr. Moreton) that Alverstoke is falling in love:
“Then Frederica went towards him [Alverstoke], holding out her hand, and he raised his eyes from Felix’s eager countenance, and smiled at her, causing Mr. Moreton to suffer a shock. It was not at all the sort of smile with which his lordship beguiled his flirts, but something warmer and more intimate. 'Good God!' mentally ejaculated Mr. Moreton. 'Sits the wind in that quarter?'”
QUIBBLE: I only wish Heyer had allowed the new lovers more time together at the end, and a little more intimacy (but so it goes with Austen and Heyer).

FORMAT: I have read this novel several times over the years. Also, I listened to narrator Clifford Norgate, who has a deep voice with an English accent — quite good, especially his take on Alverstoke and the boys. Another audio version is narrated by Kate Reading, which might suit the female roles better.

Ps. The date 1818 is found by a reference to a temple in Green Park: "part of the pageantry of the Peace celebrations in 1814, but as this temporary structure had been demolished, Charis thought, four years later…." (so it could be 1818 or later, but age of Alverstoke and Brummel also sets the date 1818)

CAST OF CHARACTERS: (collapsed, but NOT a spoiler)

RECOMMENDATIONS - also written by Heyer:
These Old Shades (hardened old bachelor falls for young street waif) —and its sequel is okay, too: Devil's Cub

Arabella the cynic and the spirited vicar's girl

The Toll-Gate - what a romp! It’s got murder, theft, romance!

Venetia older black sheep falls for charming country girl

Sylvester cold "dook" falls for plain "sparrow"

The Corinthian a runaway, an escapade, a robbery

The Spanish Bride Harry and his spitfire vs Napoleon

Heyer also writes some decent mystery novels, sans romance, or slight romance. I've read a few, long ago. Titles escape me.
Profile Image for Katie.
102 reviews9 followers
August 12, 2011
Whoever told me I'd love Frederica? *waits an ominous pause*

WAS RIGHT. It was so my kind of book - competent heroines who don't need the heroes AT ALL, but the heroes JUST WANT TO HELP.

OH GOD. When Alverstoke is all, "Oh my god, I don't love her, but I want to do everything I can to make her life easier. I JUST DON'T WANT HER TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING EVER, BUT I DON'T LOVE HER, OKAY?"

I love it so much. I was explaining it all to my family and they were all, "...yeah." And didn't understand how awesome it was that he was so full of ennui and then his fake cousins showed up who wanted to pay him back.

Frederica is a book about two families. One wealthy, greedy, and bored of EVERYTHING. This is Alverstoke's family.

The other family is the Merrivales - Frederica's brothers and sisters. They aren't penniless, but their estate has been mortgaged to the hilt and their eldest brother doesn't show a penchant for managing it well. So, their oldest sister, Frederica has taken charge of everything, including her siblings.

The cast is the Marquis of Alverstoke, who would spend the whole book like this if he could get away from the Merrivales long enough.

Frederica who is, as previously noted, competent, awesome, flawed in that occasionally she is SO FED UP with being a middle aged spinster aunt at 24. (or 22, I can't remember.)

Jessamy, the second son who thinks he wants to join the church and so is REALLY SAD whenever anything bad happens, and blames himself. Everyone else is like, "SHUT UP, JESSAMY. It was not your fault!" And then Jessamy makes a sad!Charlie Brown face and declares he's unfit for a life in the church. If Jessamy knew about global warming, he'd think that was his fault, too.

Felix who is obsessed with steam technology and stows away aboard a steam ship and then aboard a hot air balloon and convinces Alverstoke that it's an amazing treat (for Alverstoke) to visit a foundry that uses steam technology.

Charis whose angelic beauty makes Frederica think that all she needs is a season in London to land a good husband.

The whole plot is essentially:

Frederica and Alverstoke have flirty conversations and are interrupted by...

Jessamy: I have done this TERRIBLE, AWFUL THING. I will pay you back when you tell me how much money it cost you.
Alverstoke: It is not that terrible.
Jessamy: It is the most terrible awful thing that has ever been done. Also, for real. Tell me how much money I owe you.
Alverstoke: It is not that bad. And stop talking about money.

Felix: You want to take me to see machines!
Alverstoke: How about my secretary takes you?
Felix: But it is a TREAT. FOR YOU.
Alverstoke: Ugh. Fine.
Felix: =) =) =) <3

Charis: I am participating in Romeo and Juliet with a guy who is also my pseudo-cousin, but it is SECRET AND NO ONE KNOWS.
Alverstoke: You are so boring. It's a pity you're so beautiful.
Charis: I am in loooooove. And it is tragggic! Alverstoke is trying to deny our loooooove.
Frederica: Everyone knows, Charis, stfu and marry someone who can support you, not our penniless pseudo-cousin, ok?
Charis: You are trying to deny our looooove. You are evil! No you aren't! But you're trying to break us apart.
Frederica: *facepalm*

If that has not convinced you, then let me remind you WHACKY FAMILY SHENANIGANS. 'nuff said.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,063 reviews479 followers
July 11, 2021

This is one of my top ten favourite Georgette Heyer books. I tittered and chortled into my handkerchief or behind my fan many a time! Frederica's young mad scientist brother, Felix, often had me rolling on the floor with laughter!

The entire family had Lord Alverstoke running in every direction to get them out of scrapes - not a dull moment since Frederica darkened his doorstep and begged him to help her launch her sister into society.

I remember reading that one woman wrote to thank Georgette Heyer for writing this book. She had been imprisoned along with many other protestors. She would recount this story to her fellow inmates to keep morale up. Apparently, Georgette Heyer kept this letter: she had been touched that all of the women's cellmates looked forward to listening to this story time and again during their long imprisonment.
A must read!

Profile Image for Amy.
2,556 reviews397 followers
July 14, 2022
2021 Review
I am a predictable woman. I feel stress, I read Frederica. It is as simple as that.

2020 Review
I needed a comfort read and Frederica did not disappoint.

2018 Review
Told you I re-read this book every year.
If I end up an old maid, do not blame Mr. Darcy. Blame the Marquis of Alverstoke.
I repeatedly reiterate in my earlier reviews that other Heyer heroes rank higher in my regard. I think, as I get older, that becomes less the case. I know I ought to like the others more. Charles, from The Grand Sophy, for example (though that temper...) or Freddy from Cotillion (who is a sweetheart) or Sir Tristram from The Talisman Ring (who combines security with a sense of humor.)
Certainly all of them are more moral and would make much better husbands. But something about Alverstoke always draws me back. I think the best way to describe why is to paraphrase the very praise he gives Frederica...he never bores.
Take the scene where Frederica and her hound end up at his house. First, no one has to explain to him what is going on. He immediately perceives and rolls with it. Second, he doesn't chew Frederica out for coming to him, merely for walking without a footman or maid. And then he rectifies the matter by finding her a footman. In other words, he doesn't mind bailing her out of her crazy adventures and behaves like a man of action to fix the problem.
Contrast with Freddy, who would probably need something more to roll with if he walked into a room full of strangers demanding compensation, or Charles, who would definitely take affront to her getting into the situation at all. Sir Tristam probably wouldn't, but he also wants to settle to a country life of quiet respectability so I cannot imagine him doing everything with the flair of Alverstoke.
In other words, the more I relate to Frederica, the more I love Alverstoke.

Side note: I'm also so impressed with this cover. It gets the balloon exactly right.

Read in 2017
Sometimes you encounter a fictional character and the experience changes you. Perhaps in this character you find someone you want to be, or you discover someone you already are, or maybe you simply return to them so often they become indistinguishably part of you.
Frederica, and to a lesser extent Alverstoke, represent that to me. I read my review from 7 years ago with some bemusement. Could I have guessed at that point how indispensable the works of Georgette Heyer would become in my life? I think I had an inkling, but certainly no real idea. I had no idea I would read Frederica every year and enjoy it more each time. But you know, the traces are there.
17-year-old Amy saw in 24-year-old Frederica a role model. Frederica remained calm in times of stress, but knew when to laugh things off. She selflessly cared for those around her. She observed life with a wry smile and a frank glance. She was charming and well-behaved, yet also independent and determined. And I wanted to be her.
Now as 24-year-old Amy looks at 24-year-old Frederica, I find I still very much want to be her. I love Frederica for her self-possession and sense of humor. Whether I radiate those things like I wish to those around me, I don't know! However, I certainly have internalized them.
I love Alverstoke. Though other Heyer Heroes rank higher in my personal regard, his affection for Frederica holds a special place in my heart. She is the only woman who could never bore him! If that isn't an attribute worth having in a spouse, I don't know what is.

The Grand Sophy will always be my favorite Heyer novel, but Frederica will always come delightfully close to usurping it. Sophy is unattainable; Frederica is not.

Read in 2011
If there is one thing I've discovered from reading Georgette Heyer, its a vast new vocabulary. I can now roughly speak/translate "nineteenth century slang". What I find so amusing about that is how quickly you start using the words, like telling someone they're "doing it a little to brown" or refering to a young man as a "foppish dandy in the peticoat line". My poor, bewildered family would probably not mind if I took a break from this particular author...
And as I started Frederica that is exactly what I felt like doing: taking a break. How could I have convinced myself to get yet another Heyer book from the library? The Nonesuch had proven to be a bit of a disapointment, and I didnt' feel up for another stupid regency-romance. But, I figured, I had the book and a few minutes to spare and might as well start it....
With trepedition I began it...only to be pleasently suprised.
Lord Vernon Alverstoke is immensely wealthy (are there any Heyer heroes who aren't?), constantly sought after in the marriage market, and bored. Very bored. Spoiled since birth, his relationship with his three sisters could be deemed tempid at best, downright antagonistic at worst. He is a flirt and a rake and as irresponsible as the day is long. When some distant relations show up and ask him to call, he's quite certain they are, like everyone else, after his money.
24-year-old Frederica Merriville is at her wit's end. Determined to usher her stunningly beautiful younger sister into London society with a glorious season, her plans look to fall short when she discovers her "fashionable London aunt" really lives in a poorer part of town, and doesn't know anyone of real consequence. Calling on Lord Alverstoke was almost a last-ditch effort...
Struck by how amusing it would be to con his sister into thinking he was giving a coming out ball for his neice (like she had been begging him) while also foisting on the unsuspecting party his "new cousins", Lord Alverstoke gives in to Frederica's request that he play guardian. But what was once a perfectly tame and boring life turns rather unexpected and topsy-turvy as Lord Alverstoke finds himself drawn more and more into the Merriville family.
Determined, clever Frederica who had played mother, father, and sister to her three younger siblings since their parents death, and watches over her other brother at Oxford.
Harry, the impetuous Oxford student, with his Father's vices and a loyal heart, only to willing to hand over the responsiblity of caring for the family to his older sister.
Stunningly beatiful, sweet tempered, but not to bright Charis, whose loving heart can't bear to rebuff anyone, even as she can't think of anything clever to say.
And finally Jessamy and Felix, the two younger brothers who steal Lord Alverstoke's heart as they tumble in and out of scrapes, mad-cap plans, and hot air baloons.

Thoughts (also known as why I fell in love with this book)
I really ended up loving this book. I'd rank it just after The Grand Sophy but above Cotillion in Heyer awesomeness. It carried what I've come to expect of her - memorable characters, humerous language, an interesting plot line. It didn't leave me sitting there giggling. But it did posses something a little bit deeper....
Well, anyway, I loved Frederica. I think I can relate to her more than any other Heyer heroine so far. And its not just that she is the oldest of five...there is something about her outlook on life I can connect with. I loved how she didn't fall ga-ga for Lord Alverstone on chapter 2, and go on rambling about how amazing he was until the last page. No, siree!! She discovered love like I think its supposed to be, without the "his broad cheast" and "her fair lips" mumbo-jumbo thrown into most romance books. It started with a deep friendship. <3 (yes, I know, sappy of me, but it was such a relief!! )
Lord Alverstoke, on the other hand ....well. Frankly, I wanted to hate him. He was a slacker and a major flirt and cynical....but the more vocally I announced my dislike for him, the more I liked him. He really does experience a remarkable character change, very well done. I couldn't hate him by the end, and I challenge you to try! I loved how he didn't just "fall in love" with Frederica, and put up with her family because of it. No, he enjoyed her family and liked being around them. And the boys liked him back. And unlike most Heyer heroes....he didn't just instantly fall in love with the heroine and "woo" her because she didn't like him or any such nonsense. I felt like it was gradual....and even setting up a "flirt" so he wouldn't attract attention to Frederica when he talked to her was incredibly....sweet! Charles from The Grand Sophy and Freddy from Cotillion may beat him in Favorite-Heyer-Guys, but he is certainly up there.
Tired of my rambling yet? Well, I have one more thing to note. The dog xD A "Belusian hound". Almost every goodreads reviewer has made a mention of him, so I figure I might as well join the band-wagon. Very humerous character that I wouldn't have minded more of in the last half. Though I am in doubt, would a country-bred dog really just start scattering a herd fo cows in the middle of a park....?
The scraps the boys (and even Frederica) go into were funny, the characters well done, and overall....I liked it. I can't excuse Lord Alverstone's past immoral behavior, and I will make a mention of it for more particular readers, but it is handled delicately, and unlike Arabella, I didn't feel like Frederica "walked in" on the engagment/marriage blind to his character.
Plus, the ending wasn't all that fluppery "everything-works-out-perfectly." Ha! We don't know exactly what happens to everyone. And I'm glad of it. It leaves room for the imagination, without offending or irritating any attachments you might have developed for the characters.
So hip-hip-hooray for Georgette Heyer and a delightful story that took me by surprise.....
Profile Image for Madeline.
771 reviews47k followers
March 13, 2021
Is there any quicker way to date a review than by referencing the current Netflix obsession-of-the-week? Whatever, it's my review and I can do what I want, and I'm here to take a bold stance and say that I have absolutely no interest in watching Bridgerton. It just seems like Georgette Heyer with sex scenes added, which I realize should be an incentive, but I don't want all-out sex scenes in my fun Regency romances - anyone can make two hotass actors roll around naked on a TV set; the real challenge is creating just as much tension and raw eroticism in a scene where two people are touching hands sans gloves.

Anyway, the point is that this is the second fluffy Heyer romance I've read (My first non-mystery Heyer was An Infamous Army, which is a straightforward romantic drama rather than a rom-com so it doesn't count) and I was just as delighted as before.

The Marquis of Alverstroke's carefree bachelor lifestyle is rudely interrupted one day by the arrival of his distant cousin, Frederica Merriville. Frederica has her three younger siblings in tow, and she wastes no time presenting her proposal: Frederica's younger sister Charis has the potential to make an amazing match during the London social season, and Frederica just needs the help of her wealthy, popular cousin Alverstroke to ensure that Charis has all the best clothes, gets invited to the best parties, and meets the right people. (Frederica, being in her mid-twenties, is hardly a spinster but is perfectly accepting of the fact that she's much too old to be parading herself around at ton parties, and is solely concerned with making sure that her younger sister makes a good marriage)

So before you can say "oh my god they were roommates", Alverstroke's swingin' bachelor pad is transformed into a household filled with free-spirited Merriville relatives of various ages, plus their dog. Scrapes, scandals, and all the other fun stuff you can expect from a Heyer romance ensue.

The great charm of this novel - at least for me - is in the heroine, Frederica. She's almost painfully practical, having resigned herself quite cheerfully to her role as stand-in head of the household while she works tirelessly to secure a good future for her younger sister. It would have been very easy for Heyer to have Frederica resent her sister for having opportunities that she herself was denied, but luckily Heyer resists this trap, and Frederica's ambitions for her siblings are never tinged with bitterness or resentment of any kind. It might seem like this would make Frederica a boring heroine, but for me, her fundamental good-naturedness made it so much more fun to root for the whole family to succeed (and to a lesser extent, to root for Alverstroke to hurry up and realize that he's in love with her)

So far, both of the Heyer romances that I've reviewed have followed the "former rake finds love and not only decides to settle down, but is delighted to do so" formula, and as it turns out, that's a trope that I am all about
Profile Image for Emma.
2,395 reviews823 followers
February 14, 2017
Another highly enjoyable offering from Heyer. This is not an original story line for her- I believe in Venetia, the love interest also takes on unruly/ lovable siblings of an older sister left in charge. The real stars of this book were Luff, the unmanageable dog, and Felix, the youngest brother. The one off putting element of the romance was Vernon calling Frederica 'my child'. But maybe that's just a modern sensibility...it would be off putting to me, at least!
June 26, 2022
3.5 ☆

Published in 1965, Frederica appears similar to Georgette Heyer's 1958 Venetia, as both pairings involve a much older rake with a self-possessed lady in her mid-twenties in Regency England. But Frederica differs in two key respects -- its extensive cast of characters and Heyer's use of them for comedic purposes.
“How is this?" she demanded "I had thought a Marquis must always be acceptable!"
"That, Miss Merriville, depends on the Marquis!”

Frederica Merriville is the eldest of five, and her mother's death more than a decade ago led to an early assumption of domestic responsibilities. When her father became impaired by a stroke and later died, the mantle of mistress of the house settled more firmly upon Frederica's then 19 years-old shoulders. Now 24, Frederica channels her energies into the care of her three youngest siblings, one of whom is the ethereally gorgeous Charis. Frederica refuses to have Charis "wasted" on a middling local squire and is as ambitious as any mama to find a good marriage for her debutante during the London marriage season. Frederica seizes upon a tenuous kin relationship to importune the Marquis of Alverstroke for an introduction to the ton.
"... I had expected you to be older. It's a great pity that you aren't. However, it can't be helped, and I daresay you are old enough to be of use."
"I am seven-and-thirty, ma'am," said Alverstroke, somewhat acidly, "and I should perhaps inform you that I am never of use to anyone!" ...
"Never? But why not?"
He shrugged. "Pure selfishness, ma'am, coupled with a dislike of being bored."

Ah, but this is a Heyer novel. The Marquis comes up with a plan that will dissipate boredom, put not one but two moochers in their place, and introduce the angelic-looking Charis and her chaperone Frederica to polite society. His plan, of course, leads to unintended consequences.
“Perhaps,” murmured his lordship, “I yielded to a compassionate impulse.”
“A what?” gasped his best friend.
“Oh, did you think I never did so?” said his lordship, the satirical glint in his eyes extremely pronounced. “You wrong me! I do, sometimes—not frequently, of course, but every now and then!”

Frederica is a light-hearted romp with a Baluchistan dog, an alarmingly adventurous 12-year old brother, and moments of frustrated romance. Though to be fair, I'd classify this more as general fiction (albeit historical) than as a romance. Because like in The Grand Sophy and in Arabella, one would question whether the heroine had ever considered her particular gentleman to fulfill the role of her beau. This pragmatic young lady was more concerned about restorative pork jelly than whether she was in love.
Profile Image for Al George.
502 reviews309 followers
May 29, 2016
Alverstoke never saw it coming - BAM, drop the Cupid's arrow

Setting / Time / Genre: Regency, London, mostly, with a few forays here and there-ish

Length: 450 pages

Series: Not that I can tell.

Sexy times: Clean as a plate after my dog cleared the dishes for dinner

Plan on reading more by the author: OMG YES!

Synopsis, quick like: Frederica, raising her young siblings, comes to London w/the intent of giving her beautiful but semi dull sister, Charis, a season. She appeals to distant relation, Alverstoke, who has just turned both of his sister's requests for a ball / money / coming out thing. He says yes, simply to rile up his sisters and what ensues his an amazing dash about London, flights in balloons, issues with a Baluchistan hound, steam engines, possible Gretna Green episodes and oh, so much more. At the end, Alverstoke and Frederica are perfectly in love and the world is good again.

Suffice it to say, Heyer's description of things like the ballooning is amazing! This is one of those pivotal elements in to the book where we see Alverstoke rise to the occasion becoming the sarcastic bad ass super hero.
hot air balloon

Heroine: Frederica. Smart. Older. Spinsterish but not. Witty as hell. Stubborn. Fearless. She may not be full on gorgeous and it's her smarts that make Alvertoke fall in love with her.

Hero: Alverstoke. Here's the deal, at least it was apparent to me, this guy is bored of everything. I mean there is pretty much nothing in his world that is exciting, difficult, stimulating, meh-ness. Can you imagine living that way? So he becomes (and I am making a leap here) a sarcastic, shit. He's not terribly kind. He's not terribly helpful. He's not terribly positive about the future. But the man can raise a quizzing glass like nobody's business.
quizzing glass

Why it did or didn't work for me: It worked. Really well. This is not just a love story between the H/h. No, it's a story about life, a family, trying to raise three boys: one who thinks he's ready to head the family (idiot), another who is determined to martyr himself and take everything so seriously and the last who is determined to explore the world willy nilly and find every adventure possible. It's the story of a beautiful woman and her season, sort of. There are plenty of secondary and tertiary characters who's lives the reader is catapulted in to over and over again.

Stand outs, of course, are the boys. I Whispersynced this and must say, the narrator's reading of both boys was awesome, and his Charis was hysterical. I adored this book. I laughed A LOT. And for a first Heyer, it was amazing. What have I been waiting on?
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews3,978 followers
June 4, 2009
One of the better realized Heyers. A mature romance, Frederica follows the trials and tribulations of the slightly older (mid twenties, oh no, over the hill!) long suffering title character as she tries to give her beautiful (and silly, of course) sister a London season and keep the rest of her siblings under control- with the help of her "cousin", the Marquis of Alverstoke. Let the hijinx appropriate to a tale full of young, enterprising boys, an emotional, silly sister, and a Marquis quite unaccustomed to putting himself out for anyone ensue!

This book feels more modern than some others. It is similiar in tone and presentation to Venetia, another of her mature romances in which the eventual happy lovers become very believable friends first. In fact, in Frederica, were I not already aware that I was reading a romance novel, I would have very much doubted, up until about 200 pages in, that Frederica and the Marquis were going to get together at all. It was a refreshing surprise to experience that. Much appreciated. Heyer also indulged herself in a way unusual for her- as the novel progressed, we got long trips inside the characters' heads to see their feelings developing. Heyer almost never does this- her novels are social comedies, and they are accordingly very outward. We must deduce everything we know about the characters from what they say and do alone. And I really have to say, I think I prefer her writing that way- her experiment in writing thoughts tended to make her writing a bit melodramatic, and remind me of the run of the mill romance novels I generally consider Heyer to be far and away better than.

The Marquis was irritatingly perfect, and it did feel like Heyer indulged her fantasies of perfection just a little bit much with him. He always knew just the thing to say, and he was always just so, just enough this, and not /that/, and if he had flaws, well! so understandable, even admirable! The same thing goes with the mischevious younger brothers. Well, if they get up to possibly life endangering escapades... of course one wishes they wouldn't.. but not really, how could one wish boys without spirit?! And they always seem to have such a talent for getting out of things just right, as of course everyone likes them and wants to help them!, and in a socially acceptable and excellently resourceful way! At least it would seem so to those of the company who are "right ones," and know the proper way of viewing the world! Heyer's ceaseless, tireless categorization of everything that is said and done as right or wrong, not /quite/ one one would wish, etc,... did get a little tiresome. It felt like she was more pushy with it in this one than others. Maybe its also just that I've just read too much Heyer, though!

But! That all said- I adored Frederica, and her siblings were really quite amusing, and I appreciated the different view of the London Season, where all the balls and parties were secondary, not the focus of things, and we saw another, more domestic side of life. I appreciated the adventures that all the minor characters got, and the great big slice of London that we got- Heyer showing off her historical research in a wonderful way. Well written, witty and warm, I certainly do recommend it to all Heyer fans.
Profile Image for Teresa.
531 reviews114 followers
November 21, 2022
Loved it!!! No need for anything else, there are some great reviews on this book already.

This time I was ready to give it a three star until they all ended up at Monk's Farm and then it went up to four. This was the best part of the book for me. I really enjoyed the part where Alverstoke admitted to himself that he was in love with Frederica. It was beautifully written. I liked the story a lot from here on. I couldn't take to Jessamy's character at all. He annoyed me with all his prosing and moralising and every time he appeared in the story it irked me.

I see from my first read that I loved it so I don't know what changed this time.

I'm back in love with this one on my third read. There are a wealth of varied characters in this book and all of them add a little something to the story. I would have liked a little more at the end between Frederica and Alverstoke. It was quite abrupt but Heyer did this a lot in her historical romances.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,633 followers
July 27, 2013
I'm going to use my two favorite words to describe this novel: Charming and Delightful. This is the third Georgette Heyer book I've read this summer, and I'm so glad I still have more than 30 of her Regency romances left to enjoy. Her books are a tonic, and I plan on saving them and bringing them out when I'm in high dudgeon.

Frederica is a smart, no-nonsense heroine who has been saddled with the raising of her younger siblings since their parents passed away. At 24, she considers herself too old to be married and her only hope is to find a suitable husband for her younger sister, who is very beautiful. Fortunately, the dashing Marquis of Alverstoke is a distant cousin and agrees to help Frederica launch her sister into society. Along the way, the Marquis falls in love with Frederica. (And if anyone complains about a spoiler alert, then they've clearly never read a romance before.) There are the usual obstacles and a near tragedy that brings our lovers closer together, but rest assured that it will all come 'round in the end.

One of the things I especially like about Heyer's books is her emphasis on historical details -- she was known to do tremendous research for her novels. This one is fun because Frederica's youngest brother is keen on machinery, which in the early 1800s included steam ships and hot air balloons, and it was interesting to read old-timey discussions of those devices.

Some people call romances a guilty pleasure, but I read enough serious stuff that they become a necessity to help lighten the load. Besides, I don't want to be accused of being a bluestocking.
Profile Image for Crazy About Love ❤️.
223 reviews53 followers
December 27, 2022
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ five stars -

Five gloriously brightly shining, all-time favorite stars for this impeccable Regency Romance from the Great Dame Heyer. I just absolutely adore this story ♥️

I have read this lovely tale too many times to count. It has a permanent pride of place on my aforementioned beloved Kindle, and it resides at the number two spot on my own personal Heyer ranking list. I just love, love, love this tale of love!

“Frederica” is what I would consider a must-read classic for anyone that loves well-written, accurate, historical romance. No one paid more attention to detail when writing Regencies than Heyer. She was a master at crafting detailed Regency settings, and her character portrayals also stay true to the era.

One of Heyer’s acknowledged skills lies in her keen attention to detail of the costume settings. She just excelled at this, and it detracts nothing from the story, either. All the little details are just another layer on the most delicious cake you’ve ever eaten. It’s a sheer delight to immerse yourself in a well-written Heyer, and “Frederica” delivers.

In this story, you get:

• a strong heroine who’s intelligent, witty, and has generosity of spirit
• a full arc for our delicious Hero, who in true Heyer fashion, is a landed and titled peer - what else would he be lol
• a complete cast of characters who are so well drawn, that their addition to the overall plot is wholly welcome
• a hugely fulfilling romance - both of our mc’s fall in love unwittingly, and it’s a joy to watch their journey toward their hea
• a secondary romance via our h’s sister, which is highly entertaining in its own right
• witty, on-point dialogue
• a playful, lovable family pet that adds a touch of humor to the plot
• a heartfelt read centered around the pleasure to be gained from family ties
• a gloriously romantic hea - le sigh

I highly recommend this story to any fellow Regency Romance lover, and would even suggest it to those new to Regencies. This is a favorite story that I think many would enjoy, and would recommend for all ages of readers. I personally first read this in my early teens, and have been rereading it here and there throughout my lifetime.

I plan to re-read this again and again. Who wouldn’t want to read a feel-good romance that’s a joy to read?

Five stars from the work of a master storyteller; and as I’ve mentioned in prior Heyer reviews, a modern-day Austen in my own humble opinion.

Do highly recommend for your own reading enjoyment 😊📖♥️
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 29 books5,609 followers
September 10, 2017
Okay, how, HOW have I not read this until now? Not only that, as soon as I started to read it, about fifty people told me it was their favorite! Where have they been all this time?

Anyway. Yes. This just went into my top 5 Heyer novels, along with The Grand Sophy, Venetia, The Convenient Marriage, and These Old Shades. The thing with her novels is that you know from the first pages who will end up together, but the joy is in the characters, especially the supporting characters, and the various hijinks that occur. And this one had hijinks galore! Wild younger brothers, terrible older sisters, hot air balloons, unsuitable matches, and a large Baluchistan hound all add to the mayhem, and it's wonderful!
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
December 14, 2014
After Faro's Daughter and April Lady, I realized that my (personal) issue with Heyer's characters is that I want them to be more passionate. Well, I certainly got that here and not in the way I expected. The whole Merriville family is lively, each member with a distinct voice. The dog too.

All Frederica Merriville wants is to marry her beautiful, albeit not very smart, younger sister. She wants her to be happy and she knows she deserves it. They come to London with their aunt (not very important character), a twelve-year-old Felix and sixteen-year-old Jessamy, and their huge dog Lufra.
Being bored out of his mind, Lord Alverstoke agrees to introduce them to the ton. Soon he realizes that there is nothing boring, ordinary or deceitful about the Merrivilles.
I get bored with Heyer's descriptions of clothes, but here they are balanced with the craziness the Merrivilles bring into Lord Alverstoke's life. Even if he is described as selfish, cynical and overall not very pleasant person, he is never dishonest with Frederica. She knows his reasons for helping them from the start.
What Lord Alverstoke didn't expect is that they would completely change him without even trying. After so many grabby siblings and cousins, he was unprepared for the family that only needs an introduction to the society, nothing more. The way the boys capture his heart is lovely.
“The Marquis believed himself to be hardened against flattery. He thought that he had experienced every variety, but he discovered that he was mistaken: the blatantly worshipful look in the eyes of a twelve-year-old, anxiously raised to his, was new to him, and it pierced his defences.”
Anyway, the changes in both Frederica and the Marquis happen gradually and slowly (but not painfully slow). Not even Alverstoke realizes what's happening at first, but others do.
“Then Frederica went towards him, holding out her hand, and he raised his eyes from Felix’s eager countenance, and smiled at her, causing Mr. Moreton to suffer a shock. It was not at all the sort of smile with which his lordship beguiled his flirts, but something warmer and more intimate. 'Good God!' mentally ejaculated Mr. Moreton. 'Sits the wind in that quarter?'”
There are other characters that make this story worth reading. Some are horrible (one of Alverstoke's sisters and a hypochondriac cousin), others wonderful (his secretary, the third sister, Chloe and so on), some funny (Endymion) and that's only the ones that have greater roles here. There are many others the Merrivilles encounter throughout the story.

Nitpicks: it annoyed me that Alverstoke called Frederica 'my child' and that they didn't get more time together.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews389 followers
February 6, 2017
Charming and delightful regency romance.

Heyer's plucky heroines make for enjoyable reading. Frederica is the penultimate eldest sister who has inherited the mantle of family matriarch after her parents' deaths. Juggling four siblings' needs is time consuming for as a soon as one is settled, another needs sorting out.

While I liked this one, I didn't enjoy it as much as Cotillon. This one was rife with responsibilities which I don't have issue with, but the conversations between Alverstoke and Frederica were repeated over and over again:

F: I shouldn't impose, but the situation is dire.
A: Nonsense it's nothing. Talk no more.
F: Really, it was a dreadful overstep.
A:You're boring me with this talk.

A great deal of this is tongue-in-cheek, nevertheless--Tedious.

That said, Felix, the youngest brother and scamp extraordinaire saved this and facilitated the entire relationship. Quite easily the most entertaining member of the Merrivilles. Anyway, this story was more about watching Alverstoke become a pillar on which Frederica leaned than a romance. It was very pleasant, but not my favorite storyline.

3.5 stars story from a mysterious FIVE STARS' FRIEND.


The stockings weren't even hung...

AND a GIFT! Sneakily and mysteriously sent to me. My thanks for the kind wishes and thoughts to my secret Elf.
Profile Image for Tweety.
433 reviews198 followers
May 29, 2015
4 1/2

I love Frederica.

It's a lot of fun to be inside her head, she's always trying to give her family the best she can, but she doesn't always get it right. Her Cousin Alverstoke is baffled by her, she's nothing like the scheming females he is used to. Their conversations are hilarious.

But this time, I have to say that it is not the Hero and Heroine that make this book so fun, it's Felix, Frederica's youngest brother. He gets into scrap after scrap, rather like Just William. What with his keen mind for mechanics and his wanting to try things out for himself he pulls his whole family and Cousin Alverstoke into his troubles. Then his older brother, Jessamy also gets into scrapes despite his determination to be a Man of the Cloth.

Yes, I enjoyed myself completely. And I don't like books that toss kids in to make a plot or add 'humor' but in this book it felt natural and fun. Loved it!

The only things that stopped me giving this 5 were I found Charis boring, boring, boring. And I didn't care much for the social side of it. And I wish Frederica had realized how Alverstoke felt for her, I think it would have been more fun if she had. But, whatever, it was still wonderful.

G Rating a few swears and nothing else.
Profile Image for Pepa.
930 reviews231 followers
November 28, 2020
4.5 ★
Una novela que no englobaría dentro de la romántica, más que nada porque el romance tiene tan poca presencia que me parece un pequeño aliciente presente, pero más para el contento y el final lógico de una amistad que porque la finalidad de la autora sea esa.
Me vais a perdonar, pero he encontrado tantísimas similitudes con Orgullo y prejuicio que me ha hecho dudar si la propia autora ha tomado ciertas ideas de esa grandísima novela o si, por el contrario, soy yo que como me gusta tanto, le intento ver pequeños homenajes en sitios donde no los hay
Frederica ha sido una muy buena lectura, más que por lo que cuenta por como lo cuenta. Es un dechado continuo de ironía (de esa que adoro), conversaciones con doble sentido y un protagonista tan arisco como interesante. (Ciertamente me lo he pasado muy bien con esta pareja, por que las palabras de él no tienen desperdicio)
Frederica debería ser la absoluta protagonista porque son sus acciones, sus hechos, su situación y la de sus hermanos es el eje que mueve la historia, pero a mí el personaje que más me ha gustado es Alverstoke
Un estilo cuidado, muy cuidado, con una buena ambientación y un retrato social bastante realista en la que lo más destacable son las conversaciones entre Frederica y Alverstoke

Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,395 reviews2,385 followers
May 6, 2019
Sad to say that I found this rather disappointing and definitely not in my list of favourite Heyers: while I adore the pairing of Frederica herself and Alverstoke, they don't have enough page space or development in their relationship: she just keeps calling him 'abominable' while 'choking' back her chuckles (I was tempted to do a Kindle count of how many times those words were repeated...) until she suddenly realises she's in love with him after all and wham, they're engaged.

Far too much time, for my taste, was spent with the mischievous 10-year old Felix, his brother Jessamy, and the beautiful-but-wet Charis. Readers who enjoy cute kids may well like this far more than me - but I found myself skimming endless childish hijinks and outings.

There are some lovely scenes of Heyer's humour: the *restorative* pork jelly, for example , but for all the witty writing and a humorous take on the 'sensible woman tames a rake' plot I found myself gently bored through swathes of this.

Heyer can be brilliant - this just isn't a good example of her skills for me.
Profile Image for Andrea.
Author 25 books780 followers
October 6, 2017
This is one of my favourite Heyers: it's both funny and completely inverts the usual taming the rake tropes. We spend a large amount of time in Alverstoke's point of view, watching him being besotted and having him fret over the question of whether his feelings are returned.

And, really, we need more cultural eras that are willing to show men as so entirely vain about their appearance. Not just the dandies, but people like Alverstoke, who seem to treat tying their cravat with High Church reverence.

The narrator of this audiobook, while adept at producing a variety of voices, produced simply _terrible_ voices for the characters. I swear if Felix actually spoke in the near-lisping Little Lord Fauntleroy accents used here, he'd have been shoved under the wheels of a carriage long ago. And the less said about the already fairly intolerable Charis the better.
Profile Image for Abigail Bok.
Author 4 books190 followers
March 7, 2020
One of my favorite Georgette Heyer novels. The heroine is delightful, the hero has an interesting development arc, and the secondary characters are rich. I love the well-developed family life, and of course the Baluchistan hound!

2020 reread: I am so impressed by the complexity of this book, with nuanced characters revealed through dialogue packed with layers of implicit meaning. One reason Heyer's world is so believable is that her characters live in a finely detailed social structure that is alien to our own but completely consistent. The only times the book stumbles for me are when the narrator takes over and pulls us inside a character's mind--on those occasions it feels a bit obvious and coy, playing games of "I know more about this person than he/she does." But maybe that's because I've read it so many times that I know exactly where she is taking us. Alas, I can't go back to my first experience of reading it! Every time the actors are on the stage, though, the magic is complete.

That doesn't mean any of the characters is a perfect person. Our heroine, Frederica Merriville, is the capable but managing eldest sibling in a parentless family. She wants the best for her siblings but, fatally, is too sure she knows exactly what the best would be. She has scraped together the funds to bring the family to London so that her ridiculously beautiful sister Charis can have a London season and meet the kind of man Frederica believes would suit her. (How well does that ever work out?) In furtherance of her secondhand ambition Frederica approaches a distant relative she has never met, the Marquis of Alverstoke, for assistance. Alverstoke is a classic Heyer hero, ridiculously wealthy, the head of his house, sophisticated and bored with the hollow pleasures of the Metropolis. He is entitled and rather unkind, though we get a sprinkling of clues that he is redeemable in the Fitzwilliam Darcy mode.

Of course, he goes along with Frederica's plans, albeit from a wish of using the beautiful Charis to give his own relations a comeuppance. But he develops an affection for Frederica's younger brothers, a headlong pair he finds irresistible. And with Frederica he soon achieves an easy familiarity--a meeting of minds that is the warm heart of the story. Their journey from mutual liking to respect to love is a pleasure to follow.

When Heyer is at her best, she is driving the plot through the interplay of her characters' foibles and creating set-pieces in which people's flaws bounce off one another in hilarious dialogue. This book showcases those skills in scene after scene, and I never get tired of it.

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