|more heyer! again
||[Dec. 24th, 2010|09:35 am]
I thought I would not be able to get through The Nonesuch because the hero's name is Waldo (All I can think of is "Where's Waldo?," not some paragon of athletic prowess, when I see that name) and because a very spoiled brat features prominently in the story, but I did manage to get through AND enjoy it. Sir Waldo is a rich guy who inherits a run-down estate from an eccentric relative. He visits the estate with his young cousin Lord Lindeth. The neighborhood is excited about the presence of such a famous (in London) figure, and they throw tons of balls, parties, etc. The undisputed beauty of the area is Tiffany, an orphaned heiress who is unbelievably selfish and spoiled. She lives with her aunt and uncle and cousins who can't manage her at all. The only person who can is Miss Trent, her "governess/companion." Miss Trent was born into a good family without a lot of money who had decided to work for a living instead of marry someone she didn't care for. Young Lord Lindeth falls for the gorgeous Tiffany, but Miss Trent and Sir Waldo do their best to manage the spoiled brat and prevent Lindeth from getting serious with her while also falling in love themselves.
Tiffany is incredibly spoiled and very irritating, but she gets what's coming to her in the book. Her tantrums end up repelling everyone, even her admirers. And Sir Waldo manipulates her into showing her bad side by playing with her, alternately flirting with her and treating her more sternly. Miss Trent also has to resort to unconventional methods to contain/divert the brat. I didn't find the romance particularly satisfying, though the anguish brought out in Miss Trent because of the difference in her and Sir Waldo's situation was for the most part nicely done.
Black Sheep is very similar to A Lady of Quality (it came first, though, so I suppose I should say LoQ is similar to BH?) in that it is about a single lady living in Bath who comes to know the disreputable uncle of someone she has to deal with and falls in love with him. BS, however, contains more shadiness. LoQ's disreputable uncle has some politeness issues and is known for his extravagant mistresses, but BS's uncle was actually sent away to India by his father for his follies. And in BS the uncle is an uncle to a shitty fortune-hunter nephew who is scheming to marry the lady's heiress niece. LoQ's uncle is an uncle to an innocent niece running away from attempts to pressure her into marrying. I particularly liked how ruthless BS got at the end. Not overly so (not in the grand These Old Shades or The Black Moth way), but enough.
I particularly loved the nephew falling for a trap the uncle sets, by trying to woo a rich widow instead of pushing at the niece, and getting burned burned burned. He so deserved it. And what's up with the uncle setting a trap for the nephew? So awesome! And summoning him to offer to buy their ancestral home from the debt-ridden nephew? Even more awesome!
The uncle represents a different way of thinking, of hard business concerns that outweigh duty to family and honor and all that. He made his fortune on trade because he was good at business, and he will strike a hard bargain as necessary. The nephew tries to get the uncle to think about their family ties, but the uncle couldn't give a crap about it. He likes their ancestral home and wants to put it to rights, and knows the nephew can't (and won't). So he's going to take it from the nephew, in one way or another.
Of course, nothing beats the uncle abducting the lady when she decides against her heart's wish and turns down his proposal. He takes her out for a "ride." When she realizes they are going farther than she'd expected, he 'fesses up:
"And what do we do when we reach Reading?"
"We get married, my very dear."
"Have you run mad?" she demanded.
"Well, I don't think so!"
"Miles--Miles, you are joking me, aren't you?"
"I promise you I was never more in earnest. I can't show it to you at the moment, but I have a special license in my pocket."
"Oh, how dare you?" she gasped. "Stop at once! If you think I am going to elope with you--"
"No, no!" he said. "This isn't an elopement! I'm abducting you!"
She tried to speak, but dared not trust her voice.
"I thought it would be the best thing to do," he explained.
That was too much for her self-control; for the life of her she could not help bursting into laughter. But when she managed to stop laughing, she said: "Oh, do, please, take me home! How could you think I would consent to such a shocking thing?"
"My dear girl, you don't consent to an abduction! You consent to an elopement, and I knew you wouldn't do that."
So. Awesome. XD