I have long been recommended by many to read Georgette Heyer – people commonly say that anyone who likes Jane Austin will like her – but this is the first one I’ve ever read. I found it delightfully entertaining and will definitely try something by this author again. I give this novel four stars. Above is the library copy I read, and below you can see what this 1946 book looks like in paperback today.
This is a droll story about a governess (from high birth whose father lost his fortune) getting duped into marrying a scoundrel on his deathbed in order to inherit his money. It should have been rather straight forward except he was found later to be involved in some espionage. Therefore, this book reads more like a mystery than anything else; it is the peripheral romance that develops along the way that harkens a Jane Austin remembrance.
Georgette Heyer apparently wrote 57 books, which is many more than Austin! This one was not complex but rang true with intelligent conversation and a better than usual vocabulary. (The people in this story comment “mendaciously,” for example.) Set in the late 18th century, the pace of this book is deliberate and unhurried, but remains focused without any superfluous information. I liked too that all the loose ends came together in a very satisfying ending, in a way that post modern books are disinclined to do.
If you, like me, have not read this well-loved prolific author, this novel is a good place to start. Enjoy!