Frederica is not your typical woman in Regency England. When her father dies and she is left basically in charge of her three younger siblings, Frederica is determined to launch her beautiful younger sister Charis into London society, with no thought for her own place in society. In order to accomplish this, she turns to her distant cousin-by-marriage Lord Alverstoke who, in general is not disposed to do favors for his family. After consenting to hold a party for Charis (much to the surprise of everyone), he gets a lot more than he bargained for when he finds himself helping (for no apparent reason!) Frederica and her siblings out of multiple interesting scrapes.
Things I Liked:
This was my first Heyer book and I found the story to be so much fun! I became a huge fan of Frederica, Lord Alverstoke, and particularly Jessamy and Felix. The witty dialog and humorous situations are plentiful throughout and so much fun, you can't help but laugh. I liked how the main characters are fully formed and very much imperfect. Particularly Alverstoke, who tends to be a jerk, but is just as surprised as everyone else when he isn't. Overall, a fun lovely romp.
Things I Didn't Like:
Heyer's writing can be very much a turn-off I think. While she does a masterful job at the details and language of the period, I think she sometimes is over the top. I can read Jane Austen's novels and understand entirely what is happening or what they are saying, even if the language is more formal and archaic than ours. But, with Heyer, there are so many (historically accurate, I'm sure) slang words and odd phrases used that it becomes almost obscure what she is meaning. Such as this sentence: "It was nothing - just fun and gig! But the Bag-wig was feeling out of curl, and he chose to cut up stiff" (p.233). I could usually work out the gist of what they were saying, but I wonder if people actually used that much slang or that many words we wouldn't at least recognize today. (A sample of some of the interesting names they called each other: pea-goose, wet-goose, mawworm, chawbacon, bacon-picker, shag-rag, greenhead - what is it with geese and bacon?) Heyer is definitely not for someone who is just entering the world of historical fiction. But, I have to admit the story and humor made up for the frustrations I felt with the language.
Frederica and Charis reminded me of Elizabeth and Jane from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (though Jane had a lot more sense than Charis)
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
every now and then, but nothing strong
Overall rating: ****
What do you think of Heyer? Love her, hate her, or somewhere in between?
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage