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still chugging along--more heyer [Dec. 16th, 2010|09:21 am]
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My newest batch of Georgette Heyer consisted of older and/or wiser heros and heroines. It was nice seeing the couples balance out and be a lot more sensible in general.

First up, Cousin Kate. It's about a girl, Kate, who has no money and no parents. She's been let go from her governess position and ends up staying with her married former governess while between things. While she's contemplating all kinds of completely inappropriate jobs, her former governess writes to Kate's paternal aunt in the hopes that she will help Kate out. The aunt comes and sweeps Kate away to her residence where her unwell husband and son live. It's a Gothic story, so there's a bit of mystery, a bit of horror, some death, etc. Not my cup of tea, frankly. Enjoyable as Kate is very practical, as is her eventual beau. The romance is an afterthought, though I do like that scene in the carriage. Also, the former governess and her family are wonderful.

The Grand Sophy is indeed enjoyable if a bit over the top. Sophy is the only child of a diplomat who has taken her all over Europe. Her father leaves her with his sister in London so that she may find a husband. His sister's family is pretty messed up, and Sophy decides to fix it. And she does. She's a sweet and likable person, just completely unrealistic in so many ways. She's way too sure of herself and doesn't get much in the way of set downs. Makes me think of Mary Poppins, except she's not magical. The other people seem so much more real, even Sancia (who cracked me up every time she showed up). I was shocked to find a character In Sophy's father who actually worked! I know, I know, men of this class "work" in that they manage their money and estates but it seems like most of the hard lifting is done by their underlings. It seems like 85% of their time is spent doing leisure activities like hunting or gaming and maaaaybe 15% doing "work."

As I was braced for the moneylender scene, I was only really offended by the reference to "his race."

Eugenia was so repellent I wanted to strangle her. I know she was a foil to Sophy, but did she have to be so odious? She was such a sanctimonious bitch, I wish she'd just become a spinster instead of being foisted on Bromford (as irritating as he was, I don't think anyone deserves her). I don't think she had a single good quality. And did she need such an icky brother? Like I said, just too much.

Sophy's "courtship" with Charles was hilarious. The dude so had a stick up his ass in the beginning (though with parents like his and the situation their family was in, it's not totally surprising…), it was fun seeing Sophy poke at him again and again until he loosened up. I loved it when he bought her diamond earrings back and just casually handed them to her. Of course, she got him right back by goading him into shooting her pistol in the house. Did she know he was the one for her early on, or did it dawn on her as time went on? And her crying trick was perfect, especially since it disconcerted Charles then pissed him off (like everything does, including falling in love).

I liked Charlbury a lot and am glad he got Cecilia in the end, even if he had to get shot. I love his reaction when Sir Vincent asked if he should be drinking to an elopement between him and Sophy: "'Good God, no!' said Charlbury, almost blenching at the thought. 'I am devoted to Sophy—quite and unalterably devoted to her!—but heaven preserve me from marriage with her!'" He's too sensible a man to ever think such crazy thoughts (unlike Bromford).

I love Sancia (falling asleep while entertaining!), and I love how at the end she prepares dinner because otherwise they'd have no decent food. She's an awesome chaperone.

I almost never read through The Talisman Ring because the beginning was so tiresome. I'm glad I made myself keep reading as it got much better. There are two couples, a fun and witty older pair and a young and silly younger pair. The young guy is actually on the run for a murder he claims he didn't commit, and they all decide to help him prove his innocence by finding proof, the talisman ring of the title. The plot, such as it is, is silly. The young guy is reckless, the young lady has foolish romantic notions of adventure. The older guy dampens their enthusiasm by being unreasonably realistic, but he comes through when he's needed. The older lady plays chaperone for the younger and is playful but not foolish. The book is worth reading for the older couple's courtship. The younger ones are….meh. Also, the other characters are hilarious. The older lady's brother, the inn keeper, the Bow Street Runners (doing their "Dooty"), and the villain (in his loo mask!) are fabulous.

I loved how much Tristram did not appreciate being called middle aged. And when he teases Sarah when she uses him as an excuse for sneaking around at the inn[1]. And the last scene when he thinks she looks "delightfully," and how the two of them tease Eustacie when she wonders how Sarah could ever marry Tristram.

Other delightful bits: Sarah playing the babbling fool and Beau too well-bred to cut her off. Hugh and his love for good alcohol (this can only be a Good Thing, no?), and how Nye gets Hugh to harass the Runners by making him worried about his alcohol in the cellar. Eustacie playing the scary French lady cross at her abigail and freaking out the Runners.

[1] Love his exchange with Hugh in particular:

'I fear you can have no romantic leanings,' said Shield, before Miss Thane could speak. 'A star-lit sky, the balmy night breezes—'

'But this if February! The breeze isn't balmy at all—in fact, there's been a demmed north wind blowing all day,' pointed out Sir Hugh.

'To persons deep in love,' said Sir Tristram soulfully, 'any breeze is balmy.'

Soulfully! Like he'd ever be soulful even in love! I could see him being passionate, but soulful? Truly a "hateful wretch." XD;

[User Picture]From: flyby311
2010-12-16 07:55 pm (UTC)
I don't usually read books by Georgette Heyer (generally not my genre of books, haha), but if you had to recommend just one, which should I dive into first? :D;; The Grand Sophy sounds amusing. I probably wouldn't read The Talisman Ring though, because I don't really like the books focus being split (I dislike it when it's just two people, I'd probably dislike it more if it's two couples, haha).
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2010-12-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
Oh geez, that's tough. While The Grand Sophy is fun I can't help but adore Cotillion. I'd say one of those? The Talisman Ring's second couple is really quickly established, so they kind of don't count in a way. It's the main (awesome) couple that develops throughout the entire book.
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