After all the "macho sci-fi" I've been reading it was definitely time for a spot of regency romance and who better to fill this need than the Recency Queen, Georgette Heyer?
Rather conveniently, a few days ago I walked past a second hand shop and bought six books for something like £1.30. This bargain collection included three classic Heyer's and I binge read them over this weekend. I honestly just can't stop at one and I think it's an addiction...
The Convenient Marriage. Set in 1776 and the first romantic novel I have read that features a stuttering heroine - the self assured Horatia Winwood. Horry offers herself to the Earl of Rule, who is (of course) much more worldly wise than herself, as a replacement bride in place of her sister who is already in love and he accepts. Not entirely clear why a wealthy 35 year old man about town would accept a random proposal from a stuttering and plain 17 year old but I'll cite suspension of disbelief clause one. Again unusually for a Heyer, this novel starts with the marriage of our hero and heroine and then love develops. Hopefully I've not ruined the ending for anyone with that shocking plot revalation!
The Nonesuch. The titular Nonesuch is Sir Waldo Hawkridge who is wealthy, handsome, eligible, illustrious and known as the nonesuch for his athletic prowess. He believes he is past the age of falling in love until he travels north to inspect Broom Hall (a recent inheritance) and makes the aquaintance of governess Miss Trent. Again, with a couple of bumps along the way, love blossoms between the two. This book is also notable for the character of the beautiful and wealthy Tiffany Wield (to whom Ancilla Trent is companion/governess) who is the most ghastly anti-heroine that I suspect was great fun to write!
Faros Daughter. Our hero, the rich and powerful Max Ravenscar, learns that his young cousin Adrian is bent on marrying Deborah Grantham, who works in her aunt's gaming house. Assuming initially that he can buy her off, he learns that Deborah is spirited (as well as beautiful) and he learns that she is a worthy opponent who seeks to teach him a much-needed lesson. Our heroine is compassionate and clever and our hero is strong and arrogant. Not quite one of my favourite Heyer pairings (bit too much plot to-ing and fro-ing for that) but good fun all the same.
I'll be honest - I didn't enjoy these three as much as I enjoyed the three I read back to back last summer but they were a quick, escapist read that hit the spot. I'm already wondering where I will get my next Heyer-fix from and have been scouring ebay for cheap editions. There's just something about those fabulous pan covers that I find so much more appealing than the tasteful re-issued editions.