Sunday, November 23, 2008
Heyer, Georgette. 1935. Regency Buck.
"Newark was left behind and the post-chaise-and-four entered on a stretch of flat country which offered little to attract the eye, or occasion remark."
Georgette Heyer was a wonderful writer. A beloved writer, in fact, known for her regency romances in particular. Her books are rich in detail--but not in a burdening, cumbersome way. And her characters are always nicely drawn from human nature--flaws abound, but that's always a good thing. Vices and temptations abound in her works--drinking, gambling (be it at the gaming table or in a sporting arena), keeping bad company, and fashion to name just a few examples. (How is fashion a vice? Well, if you're too vain or selfish and spend too much time primping in front of a mirror, then chances are you're in for a comeuppance. Also, spending too much money on fashion--clothes, hats, gloves, jewelry, etc.--is just one way it can be a vice.)
In Regency Buck, we've got the story of a brother and sister newly arrived in London. Peregrine Tavener, the brother, and his older sister, Judith Tavener. They are coming to set up house, and perhaps even more importantly to meet their guardian. (Both of their parents have died. And the father's will left them under the care of Lord Worth.) They are expecting an older gentleman. A man that would have been the contemporary of their father. Someone with gout presumably. What they find is that Lord Worth is a young man--just a handful of years older. He isn't particularly pleased with this added responsibility, and he's not shy admitting this to his wards. But for one year at least--until Judith's birthday--Lord Worth is their official guardian.
The Taveners do set up their own house. Mrs. Scattergood, a relation (cousin???) of Lord Worth, is Judith's companion. Needed during that time to protect young women and provide them with counsel on how to behave in society. An older woman to act as chaperone. Of course, Peregrine, offers protection to his sister as well. But who's protecting him? Peregrine being prone to gambling and partying. When Peregrine becomes engaged to a young woman, Harriet, then a few strange coicidences occur to threaten his life which convinces Worth that someone is out to kill his ward.
The two stand to inherit much money when they come of age. And for this reason, suitors abound for Judith's hand. One of her most persistent suitors is her cousin, Bernard Tavener. But Lord Worth turns them all away. Saying that no man will marry her while he is still her guardian. Something that both repulses and pleases her. She's known some of the men are completely unsuitable--some as old as her father, all looking for a wealthy wife--but the idea of being controlled by a man irritates her at the same time.
Worth (Julian) and Judith (whom he persists in calling Clorinda) are always bickering. The banter flows easily between these two. While both tend to be a bit cranky around the other, the reader knows without any doubts that these two secretly feel very differently about each other.
I love Worth and Judith. I love the rich-layers of Regency Buck as well. For example, Judith's reading of Sense and Sensibility. And the presence of Lord Byron and the discussion of his poetry. There are a dozen or so other things I could point out, but those are just two examples of bits that made me smile.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews