Monday, May 25, 2009
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
As I mentioned on Saturday, Sourcebooks Casablanca is reprinting Georgette Heyer's books. The Corinthian was a fun book, with two charming protagonists. Unfortunately, I was only irritated by the heroine of The Convenient Marriage, so it took me a while to read. It's harder to get through a book when the lead character is childish and dislikable.
I had high hopes for Horatia Winwood. At seventeen, she was the youngest of the three Winwood sisters, and their mother needed them to make good marriages because the family heir had large gambling debts. But, Horatia's older sister, Lizzie, was in love with a military man, so when the Earl of Rule offered for her hand, Horatia asked if she could marry him instead. At that point, I thought Horatia had spunk, and, evidently Rule thought the same thing. He agreed to marry her, and shocked society, his mistress, and his enemy, by marrying the youngest Winwood daughter.
It turned out that Horatia actually was a bratty child, delighting in the money, the clothes, the gossip, and society. She proceeded to lead Rule in a merry dance, while he indulged her, paying her gambling debts, and for her clothes. In the meantime, Lethbridge, Rule's enemy, proved to be very clever in dealing with Horatia, flirting with her, and using her to get revenge on Rule. With Lethbridge and Rule's mistress, hoping for the destruction of the marriage, Horatia did everything she could to play into their hands.
Georgette Heyer always carefully researched her books, accurately portraying Regency society. Although many men married younger women, and spoiled them, I wasn't enthusiastic about the arrangement. There were too many other characters gossiping about Horatia and Rule, with not enough interaction between the couple. After the fun, charming couple of The Corinthian, I found The Convenient Marriage to be a disappointment.
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer. Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2008. ISBN 9781402217722 (paperback), 307p.