Venetia and The Quiet Gentleman, and I have turned out to be helpless in the face of a hot summer evening and some Regency hijinks.
AND it was Georgette's 109th birthday on the 16th, but the combined packing efforts of a vacation and a major move rendered me incapable of, you know, planning shit. But bonne belated fête, Georgette. I wish you were not dead, because I will eventually plow through your ridiculous massive backlist and then where will we be?
But The Quiet Gentleman. Some 20ish pages in we have met both the Earl and Miss Morville, a pair of unflappable and prosaic individuals in a maelstrom of tempers and high opinions of self. Incidentally, they have also just met each other, and when we are informed that the Earl finds Miss Morville rather dull we are all, JUST YOU WAIT, Earl. I see what is in store for you. And then we rest back on our collective haunches to see how they will eventually come to find each other terribly exciting indeed.
But the novel wanders on, and they don't show the usual signs of Eventual Hook-Ups (strong dislike bolstered by opposition of temperaments but countered by either raw physical attraction or genteel admissions of the other's fine looks, depending on your era). It's not that they despise each other, it's that they seem to not care. And the Earl is busy being attempted-murdered and Miss Morville is busy advising her friend, the flaxen-curled, sapphire-eyed, etc. Marianne, on her potential suitors.
And there is less ZIPPING WIT in The Quiet Gentleman than in, say, Venetia (which is almost entirely plotless but so chocked with banter you'd never notice). But there is more being shot at, and more mystery and intrigue (who is trying to kill the Earl, long come into his inheritance but only lately returned to claim it? Could it be Martin, the late Earl's younger son who, quite reasonably, expected the current Earl to be killed in battle eventually and the inheritance to come to him? Could it be Martin's hilariously snooty mother? Could it be that creepy git Martin hired as his manservant? YOU WILL HAVE TO READ TO FIND OUT!) so it all evens out in the wash.
And there is no small amount of sherry consumed and a valet with a subtly disturbing reverence for boots and the word 'bamming' is used quite a lot. It's Heyeriffic.
Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher.