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Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Home from Waterloo, Gervase Frant, was excited to be welcomed home by his family and claim his title as the seventh Earl of St. Erth. To his surprise his family is not remotely pleased to have him home and he wonders if they wished he would have died in the war. When Gervase falls for his half-brothers sweetheart his family goes from unfriendly to positively murderous.

The Quiet Gentleman is one of Heyer’s more suspenseful Regency romances, combining a mysterious plot with her signature witty style.

My Thoughts:

Georgette Heyer is the Queen of the Regency Romance novel for a reason.  The woman could write one heck of a story.  The Quiet Gentleman starts off a bit slow, but before you know it, the reader is surrounded with quite a cast of characters:
  • The Dowager Countess, who knows everything and can't be told any different.  Quite like Austen's Lady Catherine from P&P, always with a family story to tell too.
  • Martin the younger half-brother, who feels he should be the Earl damn it!  Really, why couldn't Gervase just die in the war like everyone else?
  • Cousin Theo, who is ever so helpful and has undying loyalty to Gervase.  He's a little too good come to think of it....
  • Miss Bolderwood,the local beauty, who is not the smartest lass in the land but she has quite a fortune
  • Miss Morville, the smart, quite, and unobtrusive woman who everyone underestimates or overlooks
  • Lucy, Gervase's close friend from the war who is himself a Viscount and a dandy.  A typical Regency buck you could say.
  • Our hero of the story, Gervase, who is not the typical silly dandy that everyone takes him for.  He knows what his family thinks of him, has great insight into people's behavior, is quite smart, and sarcastic. 
Gervase finds himself in series of coincidences that threaten his person, and his brother Martin is the first one to be suspected.  This is easy since Martin flies off the handle over the littlest thing.  He can act like quite the big baby, storming off in a huff, in a respectful manner of course.  That just makes it all the funnier.  Poor Martin, he is such an immature country gentleman.  All he needs is some brotherly guidance so he can grow up. 

This is a multi-layered story, with sly complex characters, and wonderful period descriptions that make the reader forget time and place.  The dialogue is witty, full of double meanings, and if you're not careful, you may miss a tid bit if information necessary to solving who wants to off Gervase.  I probably should have figured out who wanted to off Gervase.  Looking back I had my suspicions, but I was too busy enjoying the story and reading in the moment that I didn't wholly care about that aspect of the story.  I liked all of the interplay between the characters, and that's what Heyer excels at.

I can't think of which character I liked the most, because they were all drawn so well.  Each one represents the typical people you would meet in a Regency novel, and I love that cast of characters.  This would make a great Masterpiece Theater show.

The was a fun, light, and enjoyable read that reminded me why I need to read more of Heyer. Excellent!

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical fiction
Trade paperback, 360 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks

2011 Challenges Met:  HF

Thanks Beth from Sourcebooks publicity for sending me a copy of this book.