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Group Reads > Frederica October 2017 Group Read Spoiler thread

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message 1: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (last edited Oct 01, 2017 01:08AM) (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
For final conclusions!

Will contain spoilers!


message 2: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
I have always liked this book, mainly because I love Frederica. She is so strong and quick-witted and in control.

It is also one of the funnier GH.


message 3: by Vasoula (new)

Vasoula | 43 comments ❇ Critterbee wrote: "I have always liked this book, mainly because I love Frederica. She is so strong and quick-witted and in control.

It is also one of the funnier GH."


I also love this book, mainly because of Frederica! I particularly like the scene they prepare for the ball and the description of the dinner and ball.


message 4: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) Not one of my favourites. Frederica is far too controlling and oblivious to the wishes and needs of her siblings, and Felix is annoying. Or rather, Heyer seems to think we will all love Felix, and it doesn't work if you're not pre-disposed to love bumptious children.


message 5: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Felix certainly was a lot, but he helps to highlight a very attractive side of Alverstoke.

In general, I don't care for 'plot moppets' or children in the GH books that I read, but I didn't mind these.

I


message 6: by Sherwood (new)

Sherwood Smith (sherwoodsmith) | 91 comments ❇ Critterbee wrote: "Felix certainly was a lot, but he helps to highlight a very attractive side of Alverstoke.

In general, I don't care for 'plot moppets' or children in the GH books that I read, but I didn't mind t..."


Same here. (I also like the boy in Sylvester.)


message 7: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
I think GH has done a very good job with Felix. He is gifted & they often have insatiable curiosity.


message 8: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Oct 02, 2017 12:09PM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments Rosina wrote: "Not one of my favourites. Frederica is far too controlling and oblivious to the wishes and needs of her siblings, and Felix is annoying. Or rather, Heyer seems to think we will all love Felix, and ..."

I’ve said this before, I don’t like Felix AT ALL. He’s just the sort of child I prefer to avoid.

I can’t stand him.


message 9: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "He’s just the sort of child I prefer to avoid.

I can’t stand him.


Gifted kids often are. We have a couple in my family (not my two! :) ) GH has perfectly depicted the behavior.


message 10: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee ❇ Critterbee wrote: "In general, I don't care for 'plot moppets' or children in the GH books that I read, but I didn't mind t..."

Her most enjoyable example of kids and family (with kids).


message 11: by Jackie (last edited Oct 03, 2017 07:55AM) (new)

Jackie | 1201 comments in general, I don't think Heyer does children well but I don't mind Felix as much and I really like Jessamy.

but this book is one of my favorites for the humor most of all. "restorative pork jelly" !

and I love the phrase "plot moppets"!


message 12: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 1201 comments I like many of the characters including Charis - she is underestimated by her sister because she is no intellect - but she knows what (who!) she wants and sticks to it and she can sew beautifully. I think her character is more interesting than just a dumb but pretty girl.
I enjoy Charles, Alverstoke's secretary, and would like to hear more about his family.
I like the main characters and all of the secondary characters, too, which makes for a good read.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments Jackie wrote: "I like many of the characters including Charis - she is underestimated by her sister because she is no intellect - but she knows what (who!) she wants and sticks to it and she can sew beautifully. ..."

Those are are some good points about Charis.

She has a real ability and she sticks to her guns.


message 14: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Jackie wrote: "in general, I don't think Heyer does children well but I don't mind Felix as much and I really like Jessamy.

but this book is one of my favorites for the humor most of all. "restorative pork jell..."


I never really saw Jessamy as a child, he seems like a young man to me. How old is he? I don't have my book at work. (On my lunch break!)


message 15: by Sherwood (new)

Sherwood Smith (sherwoodsmith) | 91 comments I believe he was sixteen--a tough age to be, and to depict with sympathy. But I thought Heyer did a good job with him as well.


message 16: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Jackie wrote: "I like many of the characters including Charis - she is underestimated by her sister because she is no intellect - but she knows what (who!) she wants and sticks to it and she can sew beautifully. ..."

I agree, Jackie! Charis knows what she wants, and she shows that she can be stubborn. Frederica did not really listen or pay attention to what Charis really wanted because she was too busy trying to manage everything else.

Also, Frederica can be imposing, and I understand that Charis might be too afraid to talk to her about Endymion.


message 17: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee I like it when Heyer showed us that Charis was competent before Fredrica seemed to know it.

I loved when Alverstoke told people that the younger sister was prettier (and being ignored), setting up the dinner when Heyer was telling us what everybody was thinking!


message 18: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Howard wrote: "I like it when Heyer showed us that Charis was competent before Fredrica seemed to know it."

I liked that too. Alverstoke figured it out as well!

Sometimes it is hard to accept how people have matured when you are in charge of them from when they were young, and maybe a bit overprotective of them as well.


message 19: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) Frederica's attitude towards Charis and her future is one of my reasons for disliking her. But that is Heyer's magic - we can see others warning Frederica that she's riding roughshod over her sister, but she carries on thinking she knows best.


message 20: by Sherwood (new)

Sherwood Smith (sherwoodsmith) | 91 comments I really like the way Heyer gently upends the popular tropes with respect to Charis and Frederica: in so many romances Charis was the heroine, gorgeous, crying quarts of tears, in love at first sight and woeful, with a horrible elder sister villainess.

It seemed to me, anyway, that Heyer was having fun with standard tropes in much the same way Jane Austen did, with respect to Jane Fairfax--the typical heroine, poor, beautiful, and talented, suffering in silence as her man flirts heartlessly with the rich and popular Other Woman. Only Austen decided to make the Other Woman her heroine. She still has to undergo a thumping comeuppance before she gets happiness, and the two women work out their issues.

With Charis and Frederica, the latter has to realize she was dead-in-the-water wrong about her sister, and adjust herself mentally accordingly, before she, too, could gain happiness.


message 21: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 454 comments I don't see her as riding roughshod over Charis at all.

For the most part Charis does not mind Frederica's plans and doesn't make any complaints in fact the only reason Frederica is given to think she isn't enjoying i as much is what Alverstoke repeats.

And she's not being forced into anything, merely delayed from getting what she wants because past experience tells Frederica that her feelings are not lasting. Their persecution is entirely in their own minds.


message 22: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1235 comments Frederica thinks Charis doesn't know what she wants, given her limited intelligence. Frederica also thinks Charis needs to meet more men before marrying. Charis disagrees but Frederica is more aware of what the family needs in terms of finances. Given the time period, Frederica can't go out and get a job. They have to rely on their brothers -who are all younger than Frederica. She's a typical eldest sibling. I relate to her a lot! I'm the bossy big sister. My sister has never once asked for my opinion on serious matters because I tell her what I would do or think she should do. She is also a bossy big sister with our little brother. He was her devoted slave but understood his big sisters were bossy at a young age. He ditched his little pre-Kindergarten girlfriend after a few years because she was too bossy-like his sisters.

I love Felix and I hate most children-especially boys. This includes my sister's darling (not) boy and most especially the 10 year old boy downstairs. I'm not super fond of Sylvester's nephew as a character but I do his scenes very funny.


message 23: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee And while Charis knew what she wanted and was going to get it, she didn't mind going along with Fredrica, not only enjoying the partying, but knowing Fredrica was enjoying it. She did love her sister.


message 24: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 193 comments For me one of Heyer's strengths as a writer is that she is able to show us that her characters have human flaws, and yet they can still be likeable. Yes Frederica is bossy (or 'assertive', to use a more PC term). But she does genuinely love her siblings, and does what she thinks is best for them, often putting their needs before hers. Heyer cleverly shows us how Frederica underestimates Charis at times, yet we can still see that Frederica values and loves Charis, even when she is frustrated by her.

Then there is Alverstoke. In other hands he could have come across as a pretty unlikeable character. He's quite self-centred, and shows little affection even for most of his own family. (Alright, some of his family are horrid!) Even though he likes Felix and Jessamy and succumbs to their charm at times, he is also described as really only caring about their needs because of his love for their sister. Although near the end of the book, it's stated he is starting to love them for their own sakes, even if he doesn't really understand why.

Yet in spite of all this, the reader (at least, this reader), still likes him as a character. We are told he was raised in a very strict and formal household, and he has also been spoiled by having everything money can buy whenever he wants it, and young women falling over themselves to be with him. So there are some valid reasons for his attitude to life. His reluctant love for Frederica is deep and genuine, and he seems to be developing (in positive ways) as a person.

Heyer writes 3-dimensional characters, with human traits we recognise and appreciate (or deplore) as we read. Perhaps that's why her characters are so much more memorable than those in so many modern HRs out there.

BTW I'm on the bandwagon that loves Felix and Jessamy. Again, they seem quite real to me. Jessamy the slightly awkward and confused adolescent who passionately wants to be good and mature but keeps slipping into childish temptation. His sibling rivalry and jealousy of the plucky Felix seem very real. Felix the clever boy whose brain is always seeking the next new, exciting thing, and who knows how to play off his puppy dog charm to get his way.

A light, fast-moving, funny story. It never gets old.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1136 comments Jan,

I think everyone likes Felix but me.

When I was a teenager, I used to roundly tell everyone that I hated children and would have kittens instead of children.

Now, I don’t hate children as I did as a teen (though I still never had any), but I steer clear of them when they are misbehaving or causing annoyance.


message 26: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Jan,

I think everyone likes Felix but me..."


Don't worry, you are not alone. I don't really like him, but I don't despise him, either. Felix is A LOT.

I had three younger brothers, and they were a lot, too. I developed the habit of replying to their questions thus:

"Well, where do YOU think water comes from?"

"Why do YOU think people would weigh less on Mars than on Earth?"

"Why do YOU think there aren't any living dinosaurs today?

That made them start to puzzle out things themselves, and then we could check the answers together. It also gave me a breather.


message 27: by Nick (last edited Oct 04, 2017 03:22AM) (new)

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 437 comments I know it's not really about the book, but I can't get over how funny this cover is!
description

I can't believe they went to all the bother of commissioning a picture with a balloon so you know it's really based on the story, and then put Frederica in some completely ahistorical shirt and skirt. She looks like a Wild West school marm!


message 28: by Kim (new)

Kim Kaso | 503 comments I have 3 exceedingly bright children, and the questions and conversations were unrelenting. My son liked games & would relate in endless detail his thoughts and interactions with them. He still plays RPGs as an adult, and still likes to share aspects of them with me. I used to let the conversations flow over my ears like a waterfall, and would tune in when an answer was required or a piece of information that tickled my parental radar required follow-up. Kids develop enthusiasms, and it is a balancing act to feed their curiosity while retaining one’s own sanity. They seem to have infinite energy. Love within the family grants patience that outsiders do not have, my brother found my son’s endless sharing of his gaming experiences annoying but found Sam’s trust in sharing with him endearing and took it with good humor. I imagine Frederica’s affection allowed her to do the same. Children, at least, generally grow out of these phases...some of her characters who cling and make life a misery for her heroines I find less tolerable than Felix.


message 29: by Anjali (new)

Anjali (anjals) | 25 comments Sherwood wrote: "I really like the way Heyer gently upends the popular tropes with respect to Charis and Frederica: in so many romances Charis was the heroine, gorgeous, crying quarts of tears, in love at first sig..."

That's an interesting insight, Sherwood. I was thinking of Jane Austen, too, but in slightly different terms. Frederica's matchmaking for Charis seems to me reminiscent of Emma and Harriet. Both the matchmakers are convinced they know best what is right for their rather empty-headed proteges, and both are ultimately proved to be wrong.


message 30: by Sherwood (new)

Sherwood Smith (sherwoodsmith) | 91 comments Anjali wrote: "Sherwood wrote: "I really like the way Heyer gently upends the popular tropes with respect to Charis and Frederica: in so many romances Charis was the heroine, gorgeous, crying quarts of tears, in ..."

Oh, yes, Emma and Harriet--that's excellent.


message 31: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
That is pretty spot on.


message 32: by Nick (new)

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 437 comments I totally agree that Emma and Harriet is a wonderful parallel for Frederica and Charis.

I think Charis is a great deal brighter than Harriet, though. In fact, I don't know why all the characters in the book are forever putting her down. She's perfectly sensible, just not a brilliant conversationalist, but there's more to intelligence than sparkling banter.


message 33: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments Nick, I loved seeing the cover image! Not just the ridiculous costumes and the 1950s-movie star looks of the men, but also the whole pitching-woo-in-public thing that’s so not Heyer!


message 34: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 193 comments Thanks for the great cover image, Nick. I haven't seen that one before LOL. If you read all of the text on the cover, it adds to the enjoyment. 'An irresistible novel of love..........' Makes it sound like a bodice ripper.


message 35: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 626 comments Anjali wrote: "...Both the matchmakers are convinced they know best what is right for their rather empty-headed proteges, and both are ultimately proved to be wrong. ."

I don't know that Frederica was 'proved wrong' exactly, about Charis and Endymion. It was proved to her that ultimately she didn't have full control over Charis, but whether Charis's infatuation with Endymion will lead to a successful marriage is anybody's guess.
Emma wanted a match of social prestige for Harriet, who really wanted a kind, steady man to look after her, and encourages her in infatuation for the wrong man; Frederica wants a kind, steady man to look after Charis who instead becomes infatuated by an Adonis in a scarlet coat. She and Alverstoke will probably be looking out for the Dauntreys for the rest of their lives, much as Lizzy & Jane née Bennet had to do for the Wickhams!
I'm not so sure Frederica and Charis aren't more Sense and Sensibility between them, though luckily Endymion is a decent sort of chap.


message 36: by Nick (new)

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 437 comments Jenny wrote: "Anjali wrote: "Frederica wants a kind, steady man to look after Charis who instead becomes infatuated by an Adonis in a scarlet coat."

I don't know about that. Frederica herself says: 'I only want to see her comfortably established: not to be obliged to make and scrape, but to be able to command the - the elegancies of life!'

Elegancies, of course, meaning more than average income! Frederica favours Nutley for Charis because he has 'all the advantages of birth, and a respectable fortune', even though everyone else things he's a dandy. Edmymion is an Adonis but he's also kind and steady, if a bit slow!


message 37: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments I’d like to argue for cutting Frederica a break here. At an age when she should have been thinking only about her own life and future, she is forced to become responsible for nearly all her younger siblings. There are no responsible adults in her family, male or female. That’s a lot to take on! And she shoulders it all without complaint. Maybe she is limited in her imagination about what would be best for them, but all her choices come from that unnatural obligation and her sense of protectiveness. Of all her siblings, only Jessamy has any concern for her situation, and his efforts to help her only show the immaturity that is natural for his age.


message 38: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "I’d like to argue for cutting Frederica a break here. At an age when she should have been thinking only about her own life and future, she is forced to become responsible for nearly all her younger..."

Excepting Jessamy, all the men in her life seem to be irresponsible, or a bit selfish, and caring only for what they want without considering others.

Hmmm, maybe that is why she gets along so well with Alverstoke. But he does feel the need to help and protect her, spare her from worry, etc.


message 39: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (new)

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4120 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "I’d like to argue for cutting Frederica a break here. At an age when she should have been thinking only about her own life and future, she is forced to become responsible for nearly all her younger..."

& you have to wonder what sort of life Endymion & Charis would have if one of their siblings didn't marry a wealthy person. Yes Endymion was Alverstoke's heir, but Alverstoke was young enough to marry.


message 40: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1275 comments Critterbee wrote, “all the men in her life seem to be irresponsible, or a bit selfish . . .”

The women/girls in her life are little better than the males! And I agree with you, the fact that Alverstoke is a responsible adult (even if a somewhat mischievous one) must seem like heaven to her.


message 41: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Will Alverstoke and Frederica have any couples to socialize with, I wonder. They do seem to be surrounded by people of limited understanding and temperament, except for those who are too young to be "equals". I'm guessing their relationship will always flourish just because they do need each other so desperately, for conversation and humor and good sense.


message 42: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee Karlyne wrote: "Will Alverstoke and Frederica have any couples to socialize with, I wonder. They do seem to be surrounded by people of limited understanding and temperament, except for those who are too young to b..."

Why not? Alverstoke is still Alverstoke, and society has a variety of kinds of people (as we saw in this book).


message 43: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 3895 comments Yes, but will they be anymore agreeable than his sisters, for example? I think they're going to have to look farther afield to find congenial company.


message 44: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 516 comments To start with, they'll have his youngest sister, whom he does like.


message 45: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee Remember, some of his friends liked one sister, others liked the other sister. There are all kinds of people, and all kinds of married couples out there. And most all would be willing to "try out" friendship with Alverstoke. Some will be the kinds that will work out.


message 46: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 2572 comments Mod
I think they will have plenty of people to socialize with.

Maybe they could convince Eliza to visit more, there is Lady Jersey, Mr Moreton. And Frederica would no doubt attract more friends, as she seems to be very good at getting along with people.


message 47: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Nick wrote: "I totally agree that Emma and Harriet is a wonderful parallel for Frederica and Charis.

I think Charis is a great deal brighter than Harriet, though. In fact, I don't know why all the characters i..."


Thank you, good point, I also believe she is humble and maybe shy around strangers- and totally unaware of her beauty!


message 48: by Howard (new)

Howard Brazee Susan in NC wrote: "I think Charis is a great deal brighter than Harriet, though. In fact, I don't know why all the characters i...."

I wouldn't go that far. Her beauty isn't important to her. It's nice, but other things matter more. She is able to make a dress that suits it. That implies she knows and even appreciates looking good. But it doesn't make her vain, it doesn't become a tool to get what she wants. Certainly, she knows how her sister talks about it. But she has her own goals in life.


message 49: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3335 comments Jackie wrote: "I like many of the characters including Charis - she is underestimated by her sister because she is no intellect - but she knows what (who!) she wants and sticks to it and she can sew beautifully. ..."

Agree with all of this - well said!


message 50: by Jenny (new)

Jenny H (jenny_norwich) | 626 comments Nick wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Anjali wrote: "Frederica wants a kind, steady man to look after Charis who instead becomes infatuated by an Adonis in a scarlet coat."

I don't know about that. Frederica herself says: 'I only want to see her comfortably established: not to be obliged to make and scrape, but to be able to command the - the elegancies of life!'"


Well, of course in Frederica's world that's what being looked after means! Having a man who can provide for you what your social class expects.
Obviously, to the average person in the C19th, what Frederica would think of as 'comfortably established' would be riches beyond the dreams of avarice, but it's part of reading a romance that one temporarily takes on the attitudes of the culture one's reading about. Frederica's not trying to get a Duke for Charis.


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