Friday, June 29, 2012

Bath Tangle
Audiobook, read by Sian Phillips; length: 11 hours, 60 minutes

Bath Tangle | [Georgette Heyer]

 "...I should be very happy to think I need never say another word to you for as long as I live -- and of all things in the world there is nothing nothing! so abominable, and contemptible, and cowardly, and ungentlemanly as persons who walk out of the room when one is addressing them!" 
Lady Serena Carlow to Ivo Barresford, Marquis of Rotherham, who is walking out of the room while she is talking to him.

I have to say, that due to other reviews I read about this book, I was a little reluctant to give this one a go. Many people said, that they could not like the hero and the heroine of this book and I was therefore afraid, I would not enjoy this book at all.

But I was very much mistaken. While it is true, that Serena and Ivo are a little different from Heyer's usual main characters, I still fell in love with both of them immediately.

Bath Tangle starts shortly after the late Earl of Spenborough has died unexpectantly, leaving an unmarried headstrong daughter of 25 years and a widow younger than his daugher.
Since the
Earl of Spenborough has no male heir, his title and the major part of his wealth and land goes to a distant relative. No surprises here for all involved parties, until at the testament reading it is disclosed, that the late Earl has appointed Ivo Barrasford, Marquis of Rotherham to be his daughter's trustee, until she finally decides to marry.
Unfortunately said Marquis of Rotherham is not only an old friend of the family but also a former fiancee of Serena - needless to say, their betrothal did not end well.

Awkward situation? - You could definitely say that. But also the beginning of a humorous, fast paced and entertaining story.
Yes, Serena is a spoiled child, headstrong and impulsive with little regard for other people - but she is all of that in such a charming way that you immediately forgive her and feel for her. She stands her ground, is fearless and quite shockingly unromantic - but nevertheless enchanting.
She quarrels with the "odious Marquis" whenenver she gets the chance but as soon as someone else tries to abuse him, she takes his side and shows a great deal of understanding for him.

Ivo on the other hand is not a beau, no Nonpareil, no rake - just a grumpy, quarrelsome, hottempered person. If it was not for the insights that Serena gives us into his character, it might be hard to sympathize with him, but Serena helps us understand, what his amiable qualities are.

That's what I loved about their relationship - they know each other so well, that they don't have any illusions about one another. They love one another because of their quirks.

So, I have to say, I wasn't expecting it, but Bath Tangle has made it into my Top10 list of Heyer books. Definitely a keeper!

The audiobook itself was great also. Sian Phillips is a wonderful narrator, she makes the characters and the story come alive. The audiobook is an unabridged version, so you can enjoy every last of Heyer's wonderful characters and dialogues.
Sian Phillips sounded like a Grand Dame and thanks to her, I now know how to pronounce "Spenborough" :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Masqueraders


Another Heyer novel with cross dressing and gender bending; this time it features a brother and sister
who play sister and brother. The book also features the siblings' love interests and their master manipulator father. This novel is set just after the Jacobite Rising and that features in the plot and the cautious atmosphere looking for rebels.

The premise is interesting. I do like my cross dressing plots, but this novel was a tad boring for most of the book. I liked the main characters, but maybe there wasn't enough depth to them for me to really feel invested. I also couldn't really get into the romances. Sir Anthony is intelligent and big, and that seems to be about it. It felt that there was wasted potential with the premise.

One thing that has been bothering about these novels is the frequent abductions of young females. How often did this happen in the eighteenth century? It seems like every month in these books.

I did like the ending though and it wasn't a bad read by any means. Heyer usually has some nice touches in her characters and plot. I think the twists towards the end helped end this novel on a high note.

Reblogged from Aquatique.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

These Old Shades

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

Since I read Devil's Club (the sequel to These Old Shades), I knew some of the characters already and the twixt that Leon is actually Leonie. I've always kinda like the trope of girls dressing up as boys. It's always a good source of comedy. TV Tropes calls it Bixfauxnen. It's usually really amusing and it was here too.

I liked this more than the Black Moth because the structure of it was better than Heyer's first novel. It was more cohesive and there was less abrupt jumps between sets of characters. As usual, I liked the secondary and supporting characters. You get a sense that amidst the comedy, abductions, and the wild plots that these characters like each other and care for one another.

As for Leonie and the Duke. The latter is standard bad man in need of reform. I like that their union is about how she loves him for who he is and sees the little good in him. I do think that her worship of him was a little too much at times and she could be impertinent and rude. She made up for it by being incredibly charming by the end though and in Devil's Club when she matured more.

This is my fourth Heyer and my third in which a kidnapping of a female happens. It's a harsh reminder how completely without rights women were back then. Even Lady Fanny tells her husband that she is his wife and not his chattel, but apparently, this doesn't apply to unmarried females because they tend to get kidnapped so often in these books.

This was a fun Heyer novel and a good one to start off probably, but I still think I like A Civil Contract best. That was one of her later works though and I am trying to go through Heyer's bibliography more or less chronologically.

Reblogged from Aquatique.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Black Moth

The Black Moth

This was Georegette Heyer's first novel and published in 1921 when Heyer was just 19. The novel is inspires These Old Shades (which is the book I am reading after this one) which will set off Devil's Club and An Infamous Army.

As it happened with Devil's Club, this book was a bit slow to start off, but it had some charming moments. Heyer gives her characters some delightful interactions and dialogue. I've noticed that her villains and antagonists go around blaming their genes and blood for their bad habits and addictions
which I guess would be appropriate for the time. The antagonists in this novel are fairly annoying, but they all seemed to be redeemed by the end. Even Tracy's kidnappings are somewhat swept under a rug.

The best part of the novels were around Jack, Diana, Miss Betty and the O'Haras. Miss Betty steals almost every scene she is in. Diana was described as having "a tragic mouth that belied a usually cheerful disposition, and hinted at a tendency to look on the gloomy side of life". If only I could have written like that at 17! While Heyer is not super literary or luminary in some ways, there is talent in writing characters, plots and stories with such appeal and seeming ease.

The biggest issue I had with this novel was actually the lack of page time for the above characters. Why was there so much time spent on secondary characters and not the main romance? I liked Diana, but I didn't think the viewer read enough of her as a heroine. There was a lack of character and relationship development there. Too much on the antagonists and the periphery characters, unless they were suppose to be the protagonists? In any case, the most winsome characters had the least amount of attention in this book.

Still, an engaging first novel for any writer and enjoyable Heyer as usual.

Reblogged from Aquatique.