Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Powder and Patch (1930)

Powder and Patch. Georgette Heyer. 1930. 284 pages. (Originally published as THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN in 1923.)

There is something teasing and playful about Georgette Heyer's romance novel, Powder and Patch. The hero is a young man named Philip Jettan. He's a good man, down-to-earth. He'd rather be sincere than frivolous; he'd rather have the love of one good woman than the flirtatious attentions of sixty society ladies. He doesn't see the need to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, call attention to himself. But there are those in his life--his father and the woman he loves--who urge him to change, to transform himself into who they would have him to be. So he does. He leaves England and heads to Paris. And oh the sensation he gives there, oh what a performer he is! But will this "new-and-improved" Philip be everything Cleone dreamed she wanted? Will she be satisfied now...? Or will he be too much for her?

This one is full of duels and silly society gatherings...

A scene between Cleone and Philip:
"Cleone--do you--could you--love me?"
Cleone was silent.
Closer still came Philip, and spoke rather huskily.
"Will you--marry me, Cleone?"
Still silence, but the blue eyes were downcast.
"Cleone," blundered Philip, "you--don't want a--mincing, powdered--beau."
"I do not want a--a--raw--country-bumpkin," she said cruelly.
Philip drew himself up.
"That is what you think me, Cleone?"
Something in his voice brought tears to her eyes.
"I--no--I--oh, Philip, I could not marry you as you are!"
"No?" Philip spoke evenly. "But if I became--your ideal--you could marry me?"
"I--oh, you should not--ask such questions!"
"As I am--you'll none of me. You do not want--an honest man's love. You want the pretty compliments of a doll. If I will learn to be--a doll--you'll wed me. Well, I will learn. You shall not be annoyed by an honest man's love--any longer. I will go to London--and one day I'll return. Farewell, Cleone."
"Oh--goodness--are you--going to Town?" she gasped.
"Since that is your desire, yes." he answered.
She held out her hand, and when he kissed it her fingers clung for an instant.
"Come back to me, Philip," she whispered. (81-2)
A scene between Cleone and Philip's father, Maurice:
"Do you think--harm could have come to him, sir?"
 "No. Else had I heard. Faith, it's our own fault, Cleone, and we are grumbling!"
"I never--"
"My dear, don't pretend to me! Do you think I don't know?"
Cleone was silent.
"We sent Philip to acquire polish. Heavens knows what has happened to him! Would you care greatly if he returned--without the polish, child?"
"No!" whispered Cleone.
"Nor should I. Strange! But I should prefer it, I confess." (139)
Another quote:
“You're only a man! You've not our gifts! I can tell you! Why, a woman can think of a hundred different things at once, all them contradictory!” 
 This one has plenty of delightful scenes in it. It's a light read. It isn't her best novel, and these characters aren't her best characters. But there are places I really did enjoy it. Like when Cleone finds herself in quite a mess at the end of the novel!

Read Powder and Patch
  • If you enjoy romance, clean romance
  • If you enjoy historical romance (set in England and France)
  • If you enjoy romances with duels

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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