'A fox got in amongst the hens last night, and ravished our best layer,' remarked Miss Lanyon. 'A great grand-grandmother, too! You'd think he would be ashamed!'
I treated myself to a reread of Georgette Heyer's Venetia this week. And if you've read this one--or any Georgette Heyer's historical romances--you'll understand why it's a treat. For there is something oh-so-delightful, oh-so-satisfying about reading one of Heyer's romances. She has a way with her characters, and a way with dialogue.
If Heyer's romances have a flaw--and I don't really think of them as flawed--it would be that they require a bit of patience. You can't rush Heyer. Or, if you do try to rush Heyer, you end up missing the point. For it's all about the journey.
I've read almost all of Heyer's romances--all but seven, I believe. And Venetia is definitely one of my favorites, one of those in my top five. Now don't ask me to name my absolute favorite and best because I couldn't. I wouldn't even try.
Venetia, our heroine, has spent all of her life in the country having very little to do with society. She's known to two or three families in the neighborhood, perhaps, but for the most part her life has been secluded. She keeps company with her younger brother, Aubrey, whom she adores despite his flaws. He always, always, always has his nose in a book. But her lonely days are about to come to an end...
But the two really don't get to know one another--and I mean nothing improper by the word know--until her brother, Aubrey, is injured. Aubrey is taking to Damerel's home to recover, and Venetia, good sister that she is, must be near his side. Damerel and Venetia have plenty of time to talk--to really talk--and it's oh-so-obvious that these two are meant to be. That the two are soul mates. But his reputation, his past, is something he can't forget. She knows he's been a bad, bad boy, but she just knows that she loves him, that she accepts him as he is.
Of course, Lord Damerel isn't the only man in love with Venetia. She suffers through two suitors Oswald Denny and Edward Yardley. These two are laughable really. And if you take the time to appreciate them for what they are, for what they add to the novel, then you won't find their scenes boring.
Of course I haven't even mentioned the plot of this one, not really, but I'm not sure that matters so much. For it is the characters that are the heart and soul of this one. I loved, loved, loved the characters in this one. The dialogue of this one is so much fun!!!
"Who are you?" he demanded abruptly. "I took you for a village maiden--probably one of my tenants."
"Did you indeed? Well, if that is the way you mean to conduct yourself amongst the village maidens you won't win much liking here!"
"No, no, the danger is that I might win too much!" he retorted. "Who are you? Or should I first present myself to you? I'm Damerel, you know."
"Yes, so I supposed, at the outset of our delightful acquaintance. Later, of course, I was sure of it."
"Oh, oh--! My reputation, Iago, my reputation!" he exclaimed laughing again. "Fair Fatality, you are the most unusual female I have encountered in all my thirty-eight years!"
"You can't think how deeply flattered I am!" she assured him. "I daresay my head would be quite turned if I didn't suspect that amongst so many a dozen or so may have slipped from your memory."
"More like a hundred! Am I never to learn your name? I shall, you know, whether you tell me or no!" (33)
He released her hands, but only to pull her into his arms. "When you smile at me like that, it's all holiday with me! O God, I love you to the edge of madness, Venetia, but I'm not mad yet--not so mad that I don't know how disastrous it might be to you--to us both! You don't realize what an advantage I should be taking of your innocence!" He broke off suddenly, jerking up his head as the door opening on to the passage from the ante-room slammed. (235)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews