My first book in February seemed to go by very fast, probably because I finished The Summer Tree with four days still to go in January. That's fine, the further ahead I can get the better because then I might actually feel like I have time to tackle a longer book without falling off pace.
Mixed. Very decidedly mixed. This book was a present - years ago - from Nickie, whose judgement I trust. On the other hand, it's still a Regency romance novel and as such I expected it to be pretty predictable. I made a wordsearch about romance novels for Valentine's Day and I've been wanting to give a bona fide romance a try every since - I'm not sure this quite fulfilled that niche in my mind. I might still need to track down Dare I Be Happy? or Cupid Rides Pillion.
At least one of the plot twists in this book actually surprised me! For the first several chapters I thought I could see exactly where it was going: respectable, strait-laced young woman gets involved with dashing, impetuous junior lord in order to save beautiful but irresponsible sister. Of course, opposites attract and the two main characters will slowly fall in love and end up properly married and living out their happily ever after, right? In broad strokes I was absolutely spot on, but there were more steps to get to that end result than I was expecting and a certain turn of events that I won't spoil honestly threw a spanner in the works.
I liked the characters — especially Mary. The background characters were very much straight out of an Austen novel, but Mary and Lord Vidal were at least a little different. I also got a fair few laughs out of some of the dialogue, particularly when the uptight male characters (Mr John Marling and Mr Frederick Cummin) come up against the wilder of the ladies. Georgette Heyer has the advantage over Jane Austen that she's writing for a modern audience and therefore doesn't have her jokes hinging on the exact type of barouche the characters drive. (Which isn't to say I don't find Jane Austen funny, I do — Mr and Mrs Bennet have perhaps one of the best comic relationships in literature.)
The plot was, after all, a little predictable. I knew from very early on exactly which characters would end up together and nothing ever happened that caused me to question that.
The prose also suffered from a lot of showing not telling, especially when it came to Mary. Though Georgette Heyer describes how Mary feels for Lord Vidal it’s rarely shown in her actions, which causes her feelings to fall a little flat.
I don't think I'll be rushing out to find more novels by Georgette Heyer, but it was perfectly good for what it was and I got a few laughs as well — 6 stars.