I really had it in my mind that Georgette Heyer really didn’t do those. Yet, here we are, two sequels interrupted only by one rather heavy historical fiction novel — I wonder if that’s why this sequel exists? That Heyer was so exhausted from the rigors of in-depth research that she needed to set her mind to a world she had already created and could more easily control.
Not that anyone could believe Dominic, Marquis of Vidal, is controllable. In fact, a more volatile brat of a hero I have rarely read, and his planned seduction of a young woman — but then not marrying her, and essentially leading her to an unwilling career in sex work — really taints him for me. His father, the Duke of Avon, had his shady past, of course, but we didn’t see it in action, for all that we know he abducted the lovely Jennifer against her will, several years before the book began. He, at least, had intended to wed her.
Mary Challoner, the woman who so bravely saves her sister from an ignominious fate at the hands of Vidal, is another matter. She is by far my favorite Heyer heroine yet. Oh, I liked Prudence, and Leonie is adorable, in this book as well as in her own, but Mary is a firebrand, and right up until she falls for Dominic’s bad boy wildness, she could easily be transplanted into a contemporary twenty-first century novel and not be out of place.
Actually, even after she fell for the bad boy, she wouldn’t be out of place. There are a lot of “bad boy redeemed” stories in modern romance, after all.
The best part of this book, though, is definitely the reappearance of the Avon family, and I still love Lord Rupert so much, I really wish he had his own romance. If Heyer was going to go in for the sequel route (which it turns out she did, and which most historical romance novelists do these days), I do wish she’d given us his happily every after.
I don’t suppose she did, though?
Maura Tan was born in Zanzibar, grew up in Morocco and lives in Singapore, where she is currently studying for her third degree in Contemporary Literature—when not writing reviews for Romantic Intentions Quarterly and eating her body weight in durian.