Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sprig Muslin


Sprig Muslin. Georgette Heyer. 1956/2009. Harlequin. 288 pages.

Mrs. Wetherby was delighted to receive a morning call from her only surviving brother, but for the first half hour of his visit she was granted no opportunity to do more than exchange a few commonplaces with him over the heads of her vociferous offspring.

Sprig Muslin is an enjoyable Georgette Heyer novel. It's easily accessible, which isn't always the case, and it's a quick action-packed read. What kind of action? Well, more comedy than drama. And by action, I don't mean explosions.

The hero of Sprig Muslin is Sir Gareth Ludlow. Gareth is the brother who is visiting his sister, Mrs. Wetherby. He's there to say that he's going to propose marriage to a woman, Lady Hester. It's all planned out. He's gotten the father's permission, etc. But his sister is shocked. Her brother could have anybody, anybody. Why would he seek out a spinster (she's in her late twenties) who's so boring? (From his sister's position that is. Gareth doesn't find her boring at all. He finds her smart.) His sister thinks the match is unfair. Unfair to him. She knows that her brother has never quite recovered from the death of his fiancee seven years (is it seven?) before. But he's convinced that the time is right, that the girl is right.

However, somewhere along the way--on his way to visit the girls' family on their estate in the country--he happens to "rescue" a young damsel in distress, Amanda. Amanda "Smith." Her stories and tall tales outnumber the hairs on her head. He knows she's under seventeen. He knows that she is running away from home. But he doesn't know who she belongs to...(her name, her home, her situation, etc.) or what to do with her. She's determined to find employment--a chambermaid, a maid, a dairy maid, a governess, etc. All this in an attempt to prove she's "mature" and ready to get married to her soldier-love, Neil.

So he takes her with him. He brings this strange girl with a mind all her own with him on his journey to propose to Lady Hester. Her family is more than a little confused and unsettled about the affair. They think it is an affair--that he's brought his mistress along with him. A Mr. Fabian Theale is Hester's uncle, I believe. It is his notion that the young miss is Ludlow's mistress. That she is that sort sort of "lady." That she is his for the taking if he can steal her right out from under Gareth.

Amanda doesn't know much about Theale except that he's old and a bit fat. But she does see him as serving her immediate needs. She needs transportation and a way to sneak out of this new situation. And Theale is more than willing to oblige. Of course, he hasn't any idea that she's good at manipulating and bamboozling those around her. A girl fond of novels. A girl with a vivid imagination. A silly, very gullible, unthinking girl.

He does propose. And she does listen to him calmly. But she knows that he is not in love with her. And while for many spinsters of that age, the thought of marrying anyone, of having a chance to have a home of their own and children of their own, might tempt them to marry for convenience or companionship...she's not ready to settle for that yet. She doesn't want to be a convenient companion. She knows he likes her. As a friend. As a listener. As a sympathetic, angelic companion. But he doesn't love her. Doesn't want her. Doesn't need her as a soul mate, as a lover.

The morning after the proposal, Sir Gareth wakes up to find that Amanda has given him the slip. That she is off with Theale. And he knows that Theale is not a proper companion for a young girl. That he's a very improper one. So off he goes to give them chase. He must "rescue" Amanda.

Amanda doesn't need rescuing so much from others as from herself. She's prone to getting in and out and in and out and in and out of trouble and messes galore. And no one is EVER going to boss her around.

This is a funny, fast-paced, never-ending chase to the altar. But just who will end up saying I do....

Please visit others on the Georgette Heyer Tour (for The Classics Circuit.)


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

Anonymous,  3:17 PM  

Oh, one of my favourites! :) L.

Rebecca :) 11:40 PM  

I still haven't read a Georgette Heyer book yet, though I am a historical fiction fan. Thanks for the lovely review of this one.

The Book Chook 2:02 AM  

I love the way Hester distractedly thinks that Gareth probably only came not to propose but to get Juno's pups.

Heyer's characterization is so masterful. I haven't read Sprig Muslin for a couple of years, but as soon as I read your review, it all came back. Fabian's tight shoes, the poor young man that Amanda dupes into shooting Uncle Gary, Hester's eventual defiance. Wonderful!

alexandra george 10:52 AM  

I don't know why but this is one of my least favourite books by Georgette Heyer. Maybe it's because for the largest part of the book the lovers aren't together.... Anyway, I love anything by her, so thanks for the review.

Rebecca Reid 1:38 PM  

What a great sounding plot!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP