Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer

I know!  Two Heyer reviews in just over a month.  But Sourcebooks sent me both 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.

Eight caterpillars.

Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher.


Tikabelle said...

I wish there were a way on goodreads to simply add an author's entire canon - or an entire book list - to your "to read" list.

Heyer may make up the entirety of my beach reading during my 2 weeks in Mexico this November. That or the contents of the "Little Black Dress" booklist on gr. Maybe both!

musingsfromthesofa said...

So, for another slight change of Heyer pace, I recommend 'These Old Shades' and 'Devil's Cub'. Heyer on!

Aarti said...

I enjoyed this book, though I don't think the mystery was really that impressive. I most distinctly remember that he calls her his little sparrow, and refuses to let her tell him she is not one. I don't personally think that being called a sparrow would be particularly complimentary, but times, they are a-changing, and maybe sparrows were considered WAY lovely back in the day.

Wallace said...

How do I not know about this author?! I must be crazy... but I am definitely adding these books to the list. Love your review! I'm just finding your blog and oh-so-glad I have.

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Nice review. Never heard of the author. But I dig your review style. Charming, witty, funny and frank. Thanks for sharing.

Cristin H. said...

I just discovered Heyer a few weeks ago, too, when Amazon had some of her books super-inexpensive. I spent a buck and bought The Grand Sophy. I loved the characters, the craziness and all the action, but there was one major flaw in the plot that was not unheard of when the book was written, but now is gross: (spoiler alert! don't read past here if you don't want the outcome revealed) she falls in love with her first cousin. ick.

I haven't read any more of her books after that one.

Tasha said...

This is the most incredibly late comment ever but I just have to say--you made me read a Heyer book for the first time, and now I'm hooked! I want to read everything she's written.