Monday, March 21, 2011

ESCAPE TO THE PAST WITH: Frederica by Georgette Heyer

The last few books that I’ve read have been rather heavy, depressing even, for one reason or another. And with all that’s going on in the world, it’s easy to get...shall we say discouraged. Sometimes a person just needs to take a few hours and shut out the world. I needed to read something fun and breezy that would not make me think too much or improve me morally in any way. I needed to relax.

What could be better than to return to the Georgette Heyer Challenge -2011 and read a classic Regency romance?

This time around I chose Frederica because it was so winningly recommended by Stephanie at Books are a Girl’s Best Friend (the host of the reading challenge.)

Frederica is the mother hen of her siblings, an orphaned brood of country gentry consisting of Harry (the eldest, kind-hearted but too feckless to act as the guardian he should), Charis (the not yet twenty year old sister) and two younger brothers, Jessamy (16, determined to enter the church, studious, well-behaved, but not quite all grown up) and Felix (13, intelligent, precocious, and adventuresome–thoughtlessly so.) They have some money but not much. Frederica brings them to London so that Charis can have at least one London season. She believes Charis is wasted on the country folk because she is so exceptionally beautiful and sweet-natured in the bargain. Frederica is determined that she should marry well. Frederica herself, being all of twenty-four, figures she is respectably on the shelf and need not worry about a husband of her own. Her ambition is to be an aunt.

But first, she must launch Charis. To do this, she enlists the aid of Lord Alverstoke, a thirty-some-odd distant relation she used to hear her father mention from time to time. Alverstoke (or Vernon) is wealthy, fashionable, and exceedingly bored. He is considered by the ton to be selfish, rude, and a terrible rake. When Frederica appeals to him for aid, he agrees, but only to spite his sister, who wants him to throw a ball to launch her daughter’s first season.

Vernon not only helps introduce Charis to the ton but in the process, he takes on the role of guardian of sorts to the younger boys. The novel follows the progress of his discovery of responsibility and Frederica’s learning how to lean on someone else for support. In the process...well, it is a romance.

The book is filled with amusing scenes and lovely repartee. Frederica is an engaging heroine who manages to put her family first without suffering from a martyr complex or coming across as a doormat. Alverstoke manages to have a reputation for being rude and selfish without ever actually acting rude or selfish...except to his sisters, who so obviously deserve it.

The storyline takes its time. The characters get to know each other before falling in love. Even though the reader knows it will happen, it is nice to see things take a natural course. There is nothing earth-shattering. No edge of seat suspense. No terrifying villains. It is a pleasant, entertaining love story. Opening these pages is a perfect invitation to relax.

Of course, the real world was still waiting when the book was done. But a little vacation was sure nice.


  1. I've never actually read any Georgette Heyer but I think I would enjoy her books. Are there any ones in particular that would be good for a beginner?

    And The Hunger Games is worth a read, definitely. I wasn't aware that Suzanne Collins had another published series.

  2. I've just started reading Heyer so I don't know if any of the books are recommended over the others. You can probably just dive in anywhere. There are a lot to choose from.
    I finally bought Hunger Games. I have to read it before the movie comes out!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and my reccommendation helped you, Susan :) Heyer books really are like taking a holiday. It's really difficult to choose the next Heyer books to read the one to start with. Everyone has different opinions!