"A writer of great wit and style... I've read her books to ragged shreds."
Kate Fenton, Daily Telegraph
Horatia Winwood is simply helping her family
When the Earl of Rule proposes marriage to her sister Lizzie, Horatia offers herself instead. Her sister is already in love with someone else, and Horatia is willing to sacrifice herself for her family's happiness. Everyone knows she's no beauty, but she'll do her best to keep out of the Earl's way and make him a good wife. And then the Earl's archenemy, Sir Robert, sets out to ruin her reputation...
The Earl of Rule has found just the wife he wants
Unbeknownst to Horatia, the Earl is enchanted by her. There's simply no way he's going to let her get into trouble. Overcoming some misguided help from Horatia's harebrained brother and a hired highwayman, the Earl routs his old enemy, and wins over his young wife, gifting her with a love that she never thought she could expect.
"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen."
WHAT READERS SAY:
"I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't stop laughing!"
"The story is brilliant, and the characters are easy to fall in love with."
"I've read every novel by Georgette Heyer... this is definitely one of her best... very original and funny."
"One of Georgette Heyer's more intriguing tales."
"Horry is an adorable imp while Rule in the best 'Heyerian' tradition is a rogue turned lovely and you don't know whether to hit him or kiss him! This is a wonderful book and is one that will be read over and over again."
When young, plain Horatia Winwood informs the Earl of Rule that her beautiful older sister, Lizzie, doesn't want to marry him and offers herself instead, the Earl, surprised and intrigued by the spirited, unconventional Horry, agrees, setting the stage for a romp rife with misadventure, jealousy, plots, duels, and romance. The Convenient Marriage, a 1934 Georgian jewel (set in the 1770s), is a fan favorite.
Love Romance Passion Keira Gillet
This novel is definitely one of my overall favorites of Heyer's so far. It's easy to read and follow despite the language and research. I loved all the side characters and Rule most of all. The leads were very well matched for each other.
Lizzie Winwood, the Beauty, is engaged to the Earl of Rule, an older man whom she does not love. Edward Heron holds her heart, but Lizzie is too well bred to ignore the duty she owes her family to accept this great match. Her youngest sister, Horatia--Horry--Winwood, decides this situation will just not do. In a scandalously forward manner Horry approaches Rule and offers herself up in trade to her sister despite her disadvantages in looks and speech. She knows she's not his first choice, but as Marcus obviously does not know Lizzie well enough to love her, he must agree any Winwood would do. Amused by the young girl, (he's twice her age), Rule accepts her proposal and marries her right away.
Horry experiences wealth and freedom for the first time and goes a little wild. She learns to gamble, though she does fairly poorly, purchases things without any real thought to cost, and makes friends with unacceptable members of society. Horry comes off immature for the first half of the book because she is, but Rule keeps an eye on her in his usual casual and easy going manner and does not involve himself overmuch. He came to the marriage thinking he was in love with a widow. He did not marry the widow because he knew she could not, or perhaps, would not be faithful in the years to come and has determined Horry is and will be even if she is young and prone to fancy.
Rule's amusement and fondness easily translate themselves to the reader. From his actions you can tell he's falling for his young new wife. It's harder to tell with Horry, as she spends a good portion of the book running around after Lord Lethbridge in pursuit of his friendship and the chance to pit her card skills against his. Lord Lethbridge is after revenge against Rule and uses Horry in an attempt to instigate it. Other characters seek to help him or eagerly wait in the wings watching for a chance to run to Rule with news of her scandalous ways. Luckily Rule, her brother and his friends come time and again to Horry's rescue. A Convenient Marriage is an amusing romp through Regency England and sure to win your heart.
Booking Mama Julie Peterson
I guess I've been living under a rock because I feel like I'm one of the only book bloggers who hasn't read a book by Georgette Heyer. I have a few on my shelves, but it wasn't until a few days ago that I finally decided to pick one up and see what all the buzz is about. I chose to read A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
I'm not usually a big reader of romance books (unless you count the occasional chick lit book) so I wasn't quite sure that I was going to like A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE. I just figured that I should try one of these Heyer books that everyone seems to be talking about. When I read the book description, I have to admit that I was skeptical -- it really didn't sound like a book that would appeal to me. I couldn't have been more wrong. A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE was just a wonderful book.
I thought the storyline in this novel was extremely creative. Horatia, the youngest sister in Winwood family offers herself in marriage to the Earl of Rule to allow her older sister to marry her true love. She and the Earl agree to have a marriage of convenience, and Horatia does her best to be a good wife; however, she still finds herself in some uncomfortable situations. While Horatia does seem to appreciate her husband, she fails to realize his genuine feelings towards her. It takes awhile for them to "get on the same page," and the confusion and adventures that occur along the way are just incredibly entertaining.
I couldn't help but like Horatia, although I did get frustrated with her actions and sometimes wanted to shake her. She was such a unique girl/woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She did do some rather stupid things, but I kept reminding myself that she was only 17 years old and very naive. In addition, I tried to understand that she was thrown into an entirely new life -- she married an older and very wealthy man whom she really didn't know at all. Nonetheless, Horatia was such an interesting character and I can see why the Earl was enamored by her.
Not only did I like Horatia, but I absolutely loved the Earl. He was such a wonderful male character. I found him to be smart, charming, witty, and best of all patient with Horatia. Time and time again, he saved Horatia from her own careless actions and always seemed to forgive her. It was almost as if he could read her mind and anticipate her next move. I just thought he was such a romantic man.
Of course, I was rooting for Horatia and the Earl to realize not only their own feelings, but also each other's feelings. There were many twists and turns and zany mishaps along the way, but I felt very satisfied with the ending of this book. I was happy to see that the married couple "lived happily ever after." I'm starting to think that I appreciate romance stories more than I thought!
While I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, I was absolutely blown away by how much humor was in this story. For some crazy reason, I wasn't expecting this book to be so funny -- I guess I thought a romance set in Regency England would be "stuffy." I was just incredibly wrong. This book was a hoot! The characters (especially Horatia's brother) and their escapades were extremely funny, and I found myself laughing a great deal.
After reading A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, I definitely will be recommending it to many of my friends; and I certainly want to read more of Ms. Heyer's books. I am so glad that I have a few more of her novels on my bookshelves. She has written something like 56 books over a 53 year period (that's pretty incredible to me); and her books include romances, historical fiction and even mysteries. According to the Sourcebooks website, she is supposedly known for her "research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations." Based on this one novel, I agree; and I am definitely looking forward to reading some of her historical fiction novels in the near future.
Medieval Bookworm Meghan Kawka
The Earl of Rule is a great catch. When he proposes marriage to Miss Elizabeth Winwood, she should be delighted, but she isn't. She's in love with someone else. Elizabeth's younger sister Horatia has the perfect solution; she'll offer herself to Rule instead, since he really only wants a Winwood, not any specific one of them. Despite Horry's pronounced stammer, Rule is enchanted with her and agrees to marry her instead. Determined to be the perfect wife, Horry leaves Rule alone and engages in her own sometimes scandalous relations with the ton. A series of clever, humorous mishaps and slow realizations lead the married Rule and Horatia to come to terms with the fact that they are perfectly suited for each other.
I'm realizing that I love Georgette Heyer. This book is laugh out loud funny at times. It's a literary caper that just continues on and on with a sweet underlying romance that left me with a smile on my face. There is so much fun going on in this book. There is Horry being rebellious by befriending Rule's enemy, then hitting him on the head with a poker when he tries to kiss her. That had to be the funniest scene in the book, not to mention the scenes that ensued from complications of the failed seduction!
I also just love the way Heyer writes. She takes us straight back to Regency England and I can feel it in the prose as well as in the historical details. The romance is clean and relatively free of sexual passions, but that doesn't make it any less real. The development of the fondness between the very young Horatia and her older, more experienced husband is endearing and engaging. I wanted them to discover the happiness that lay just beyond their current reach.
Overall, this book is exactly what I look for in a historical romance. It's funny, it's sweet, and it's believable. I wouldn't ask for more! I'm so excited to read more by Georgette Heyer. Thanks so much to Danielle and Sourcebooks for reprinting this wonderful author and sending me this review copy.
The Book Girl Carrie Zimmerman
I am so happy to have found Georgette Heyer. Her books are very Austen-like. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the story. Heyer uses a lot of the slang of regency England and it was kind of a game with myself figure them out.In The Convenient Marriage the heroine is young, way to young to get married, but does so anyway to save her sister from a love-less marriage. The story is funny and the characters are easy to love. There were times when I wasn't sure is the Earl of Rule was really meant for Horry, but by the end of the book everyone has their happily ever after.
I recommend this book for anyone who loves Jane Austen and everything regency!
Becky's Book Reviews Rebecca Laney
We meet the Winwood family early on in The Convenient Marriage. We spy on them (in a way) as Mrs. Maulfrey comes to call--or should I say get the juicy gossip on the latest news in the family. Elizabeth, the oldest sister is upset and rightfully so. Her mother, Lady Winwood, has just agreed to an engagement between her and the rich Earl Rule. The problem? Elizabeth is in love with a poor (at least relatively speaking) soldier, a Mr. Edward Heron. Charlotte, the middle sister, doesn't see what the big deal is. After all, in her way of thinking marriage doesn't amount to much. She has no interest--so she claims--in becoming someone's wife. But the youngest sister, Horatia feels her sister's pain. And she's determined--though she stutters or stammer and has thick eyebrows--to do something to solve this dilemma. She gives Mr. Heron her word that she will not let their hearts be broken. Her plan is quite bold and quite wonderful. By that I mean it is deliciously entertaining. The first few chapters of this one are so full of promise. Especially the second and third chapters. If there was an award for the best-ever-second-chapter-in-a-book, I'd nominate The Convenient Marriage.
However, the book soon settles down. As you can probably guess from the title, it is about a marriage--a husband and wife. Marcus Drelincourt (a.k.a. The Earl, or Marcus, or simply 'Rule') and his wife, Horatia (or Horry). And since the marriage occurs early in the book--by page sixty--the reader knows that there must be some drama in the works. And indeed there is. There's the former (and somewhat still current) mistress who's jealous and spiteful, Lady Massey. There's the cousin-who-would-inherit-it-all-if-only-Rule-would-hurry-up-and-die, Mr. Crosby Drelincourt, a cousin. And the villainous and cold-hearted Lord Lethbridge. All three of these people add to the drama--each in their own little way. All want to get revenge on Rule. All want to see the happy little couple become miserable. And oh the plotting that goes on that tries to break up this pair!
Horatia's closest friend is her brother, Pelham. Though he's a bit of a gambler--and often an unlucky one at that--he's got a good heart. I don't know if it was Heyer's intent to make him so likable, so enjoyable, but I just really liked him in spite of his flaws. He truly had his sister's best interests at heart. And she does need someone to look out for her with all the villains roaming about the town (or should that be ton) out for revenge.
None of the characters in The Convenient Marriage are perfect. All are flawed in one way or another. But the relationships are genuinely enjoyable, and are quite well done. The atmosphere of The Convenient Marriage--much like Heyer's other novels--is so rich, so detailed, so luxuriously drawn. The society. The fashion. The wit. The charm. The dangers of being unique in a world where conformity reigns. The delicate balance between being respectable, being boring, and being the Talk or Toast of the ton.
LInus' Blanket Nicole Bonia
Horatia Winwood's sister has been engaged by their mother to marry the Earl of Rule, but since her sister is hopeless in love with someone else, Horatia goes to the Earl and offers herself up in marriage so that her sister is free to marry as she pleases. The Earl is intrigued by the quirky, stammering young lady, and accepts Horatia's proposition since he must marry anyway. Horatia lets the Earl know that she doesn't plan to interfere in his life, and that they will truly have a marriage of convenience.
Horatia's life changes completely once she marries the Earl and becomes a lady of consequence. She spends a mint of money on clothes and gambling and is always looking to participate in the latest entertainments. The Earl is obliging in every way until an old enemy takes and interest in Horatia, and she in him- that's when the Earl has to step in and keep his young wife from coming to harm.
I was immediately taken with the premise of this story, and I liked the way that Heyer jumped right into the action. Horatia and the Earl were quickly married and we started seeing Horatia interact with her new friends, indulge in exciting an different activities, and revel in her high society status. Heyer shows that one of her sisters is concerned by the changes in Horatia and the new ways she seems to be behaving and thinking. I liked the storyline and the way that it progressed, but I also found it really frustrating that Horatia and the Earl didn't interact more, and there was a little too much of her wastrel and financially insolvent brother and his bumbling friend for my taste. They were the comic relief, but for me a little of them went a long way.
This is the first Heyer novel that I have read where the characters seem a little flimsy to me. Horatia is very young, and though in the beginning I like the sacrifice that she makes for her sister, as the novel progresses I didn't feel like I got any further insight into her character besides the fact that she is suddenly rich and doing whatever thing crosses her mind. It was hard for me to see her go from so thoughtful to so thoughtless in just a few short chapters. It's apparent that there is some spark between Horatia and the Earl and I was looking forward to see how they would interact as they got to know each other, and how they behaved in such close quarters while adjusting to living together and their newly married state. That didn't really happen as much as I would have liked. My favorite scenes were of Horatia and the Earl bantering at home.
Georgette Heyer masterfully and realistically recreates Georgian and Regency England, and with The Convenient Marriage there is no exception to exacting research and standards. From the great clothes, and wonderful food to the to the exceptionally on point language, she excels in carving out the time and place so accurately that the scenes literally come alive before your very eyes. I have noticed in some historical fiction that I come across language which strikes me a suspiciously modern, and can get distracted in wondering whether characters would actually say things like that in a particular time period, but I find that never happens when I am reading a Heyer novel. I am able to trust her descriptions and language completely.
All in all, I enjoyed The Convenient Marriage. For me, this wasn't her best, but it works as a light and superficial comedy. My favorite of her books so far is The Reluctant Widow, but as usual I loved the costumes, descriptions and the airs and manners of the time. Like I said before, Heyer goes a long way in getting the details just right. The characterizations aren't very deep here, but the plot was entertaining even if the storyline was bit unbalanced and skewed more to Horatia and her brother than her and her husband. I think this is intended more as a farcical comedy than anything else. The Convenient Marriage moved along at a good pace. Heyer spent some time fleshing out quite a few of the minor characters, and sometimes I felt I knew more about them than Horatia, and I definitely knew them more than the Earl, but it was a nice distraction from some of the heavier books that I have been reading and if you like a good farce, then I am sure you will find a lot that is enjoyable here.
The Burton Review Marie Burton
I love this author! Georgette Heyer has been around for a very long time, yet with the reissue of her many novels she is attracting a new generation. The Convenient Marriage is my third Heyer, and second romance that I have read of hers. The blurb above really tells the gist of the story, so I am not going to reiterate it here; with all the the simplistic and predictable events we still get pulled in a fantastic way. It is full of quaint scenes and fun romance set in earlier times, in Jane Austen fashion, but what I enjoy the most is the fact I find myself grinning to myself as I read her books. The Convenient Marriage is no exception to the grinning, sometimes it is laugh out loud funny with the hi-jinks of the heroine and her brother and his bosom buddies. There is a slew of interesting characters with Horry and her sisters and of course the obligatory numbskull character Mr Drelincourt who is upset the Earl of Rule has decided to marry after all these years which puts him further down the line in the inheritance.
Here is a fun teaser from the book:
"While the waiting -woman collected her scattered jewels and garments she sipped the chocolate, pondering her problem. What had seemed a mere prank twelve hours earlier had by now assumed gigantic proportions. There was first the episode of the curl."
Horatia is stuttering fool, her brother is a drunk gambler, and the older man she married is besotted with her yet she is too immature to realize it. Her new husband, The Earl of Rule, is portrayed as a doting and tolerant man with none of the typical 'rake' or roguish ways so typical of a Heyer romance. This romance is complete with a sword fight, kidnapping, parties and pinching diamond shoes. Since this is actually one of Heyer's earlier romances from 1936 she was still honing her writing skill and perhaps had not perfected the Heyer Genre as this is not one of her most popular books. I admit that it was a teensy bit slow in one or two parts but I really did enjoy the comical aspect of it and I do not hesitate to recommend this to anyone interested in the Jane Austen/Regency Romance genre. To try and explain the scrapes that the characters got into reminds me a lot of the Three Stooges with a leg up on the intelligence factor, and this book is the epitome of a comically charming period romance.
Maymay's Memos Shawn Remfry
When the Earl of Rule proposes to Lizzie Winwood, everyone is all aflutter. Lizzie is of course in love with someone else and desperately does not want to marry Rule. Since her family is in dire need of money, she knows she has no choice. Lizzie's younger sister, Horatia, decides to spare her and goes to speak with Rule, offering herself in Lizzie's place. Horatia's stammer, plain looks, and horrid eyebrows make her no prize, but she knows that Rule is only looking for any old wife and assumes she'll do just fine. What ensues is a fun romance with all the quirky scandal that Heyer can toss in.
This is definitely the most romantic of the books that I read this week. Heyer truely has a flair for giving you that goosebumpy 'Awwww!' feeling when she chooses to. This is one of those books that you read and think to yourself 'Now why aren't men really like that?' Of course there is no shortage of Heyer's wit and charm. The scandal is of a different nature than her other books, but it's sure to please. Those who are looking for a more lusty book, might want to start with this one. Thankfully again, no lurid sex scenes!
Books and Needlepoint Kristi Herbrand
Ok, I am officially a Georgette Heyer fan. I admit that I did not like the mystery that I read, Why Shoot a Butler? - but I am not really a big fan of that genre as a whole. This one, on the other hand, was delightful. The characters were charming and at times a little outrageous - especially for the time period. Like in the very beginning when Horatia takes it upon herself to visit Lord Rule and ask him to marry her in place of her sister Lizzie. And of course, she does all this behind her family's back. Horry proceeds to become the Earl's wife and quickly becomes the toast of the town. She is burdened with a stammer and I got the impression that as the youngest Winwood she was not always taken seriously. Once she becomes a wife, and a wealthy one at that, she lets nothing stand in her way to do whatever she feels she wants to - including catching the eye of Lord Lethbridge. I believe she pursues him only because everyone warns her to stay away from him - and he uses her as a pawn because of his dislike of the Earl. If you are a fan of Jane Austen type romances - and haven't yet tried Georgette Heyer - pick this one up soon. Sourcebooks is reissuing a slew of Georgette Heyer books - mysteries, romances and historical fiction. A whole new generation will be able to appreciate these works!
Wendi's Book Corner Wendi Barker
The Convenient Marriage is a fun, adventurous story, set in the 1770's - a little earlier than the typical Regency. The book takes off at a fast pace, with the Earl of Rule offering a marriage alliance to the Winwoods by offering for the eldest, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Winwood. Little does he know (but comes to find out) that Lizzie is already in love with a childhood neighbor. In an attempt to save her sister from a loveless marriage so she can marry her true love, the youngest Winwood daughter secretly visits the Earl of Rule with her maid. Horatia stammers out her intention of offering herself in marriage to the Earl in the place of her sister, explaining to the Earl that Lizzie is already in love with someone else. The Earl seems to find her refreshing (even finding her stammer endearing), so he agrees to her plan, little knowing that he is headed for high adventures himself as a result!
Characters: Horatia is not perfect! (And really, in life, who is??) She is short, has straight eye brows that make her look very serious, and she stutters! The Earl of Rule is about twice her age, but seems to find Horatia refreshing, and ultimately falls in love with his young wife. Along with Horatia (Horry) and the Earl (Marcus), there is a host of supporting characters that really help to build the story line - there is even a highwayman, a duel, a murder. . .
Story-Line: I would say that the oddest part of the story is the age difference between Horatia and the Earl: she is 17, he is 35 and determined to let her grow up. . . and the fact that the Horatia has a stammer. Otherwise, the story is filled with humor and adventure, along with the budding relationship between the two main characters.
Readability: Overall a very easy and enjoyable read, but the stammer of the main character can be a little distracting at times (as a reader, you do get used to it the more you read).
Overall: While not my favorite book by Georgette Heyer, The Convenient Marriage is certainly a fun and entertaining read that allows fans of Regency books to get a glimpse of what life was like prior to the Regency era. Once you get used to the main character's stammer, the book is a very fun and enjoyable read with plenty of adventure and humor!
A special note about the book itself: Sourcebooks has cleverly printed the inside covers with full-color covers of Georgette Heyer's other books that have been re-printed by Sourcebooks. The covers are beautiful, and make looking for other Heyer books easy!
The Bookworm 07 Naida Milenkovic
Horatia (Horry) Winwood is the youngest of three sisters. At age seventeen, she's not what society views as a beauty, and she herself has pretty much accepted that she will not marry. Horry is short, has severe eyebrows and a studder when she speaks.
Miss Horatia, the youngest of the three, had nothing that declared her lineage except her nose. Her hair was dark, her eyes an profound grey, and her brows, nearly black and rather thick, were quite straight, and gave her a serious, almost frowning, expression. No amount of careful training would induce an arch in them. She was quite half a head shorter than her sisters, and, at the age of seventeen, was obliged regretfully to admit that she was not likely to grow any taller.
Horry's eldest and beautiful sister, Lizzie, is promised to marry the Earl of Rule. She needs to marry the Earl to save her family from the gambling debt that her brother has put them in. Lizzie, however is madly in love with Edward Heron. But Edward is is not wealthy and would not be able to take Lizzie's family out of debt. Horry decides to take it upon herself and visit the Earl and convince him to marry her instead. Being that her other sister, Charlotte, flat out refuses to marry him herself. The Earl is amused by Horry, and he decides to take her up on her proposal, he agrees to marry her.
This book had me laughing out loud. Especially when Horry arrives back home after proposing to the Earl, in his carriage, to the shock of her family. She then announces that he has agreed to marry her instead and that she's convinced him to be a Patron to Edward. Her family can hardly believe it, they have to whip out the smelling salts so the mom won't faint. But true to his word, the Earl arrives that afternoon to officially ask for Horry's hand in marriage.
'And I explained how n-nothing would induce Charlotte to m-marry him, and he did not seem to m-mind that.'
'I shall die,' said Charlottle with resolution, 'of Mortification!'
'Oh Horry dear!' sighed Elizabeth, between tears and laughter.
'And I asked him,' concluded Horatia triumphantly, 'if he would m-marry me instead.' And he is g-going to!'
Her relatives were bereft of speech. Even Lady Winwood apparently considered that the situation had gone beyond the powers of her vinagrette to mend, for she allowed it to slip from her hand to the floor while she stared in a bemused way at her youngest-born.
It was Charlotte who found her voice first. 'Horatia, do you say that you had the Indelicacy, the Impropriety, the-the Forwardness, to ask Lord Rule to marry you?'
'Yes,' said Horatia stuanchly. 'I had to.'
'He cannot,' said Charlotte, 'have noticed the Stammer.'
Horatia put up her chin. 'I s-spoke to him about the S-stammer, and he said he l-liked it!'
As the story goes on, Horry does Marry Lord Rule and she begins to live a life of luxury. Soon enough, she begins to gamble and winds up getting herself a bit of a reputation. She meets a man named Robert Lethbridge, with a reputation himself of being a ladies man. Before she knows it, Horry starts a friendship with Lethbridge, against her husbands wishes. But Horry wants to make Rule jealous, she knows he keeps a mistress himself, the Lady Massey.
I really enjoyed The Convenient Marriage. What a fun, light, and sweet read this was. There's plenty of interesting characters and the plot has good twists and turns. I liked Horry's character, although she annoyed me a little at times with her foolishness. I did like Rule's character, lucky for Horry, he was older and wiser than she was. Horry's brother Pel, who enjoys gambling and drinking was another memorable character. He gets himself into plenty of trouble including a duel over Horry's honor.
Georgette Heyer is one of my favorite authors, I will have to read more of her work. This is my third novel by her and will not be my last. Ms. Heyer had a way of creating a story and just running with it, you never really know what is coming next. She added plenty of plot twists and charm to her books.
A Hidden Place Heather Fargis
I am pretty sure the term "screwball comedy" had not been coined when this book was published, but that is a more than adequate description. I can not remember the last time I laughed out loud at a book. And I don't mean a lady like chuckle. I mean full-on belly laughs. This book is just SO FUNNY. Like Jane Austen on laughing gas.
Our Heroine is a Miss Horatia Winwood. Miss Winwood is described as a plain girl. A plain girl with what is apparently a rather enchanting stutter. She is the youngest of three girls, all of marriageable age, but Horatia just barely. She is seventeen. When her eldest sister is offered for by the much older Earl of Rule and thoroughly heartbroken because of it (she loves another, lesser man), Horatia proposes to marry the Earl of Rule instead. Finding himself quite taken with her spirit and vivacity, he consents and the two are in due time wed and are pretty happy with their arrangement. All is going well, until the Earl of Rule's arch enemy Sir Robert decides to woo and scandalized poor Horatia. In true Georgette Heyer fashion, all kinds of mishaps ensue, including holdups, sword fights, and a rather froufrou-ish hat may have been completely destroyed at the hands of, erm, well, a boot.
I've only read one other book by Georgette Heyer, Charity Girl, which I also really, really liked. But I just loved this one. It may have been a timing thing, but it was a read I really needed; lighthearted and fun. I don't think I have ever laughed so much at a period novel. Horatia was wonderful, so lighthearted, but also stubborn, willful and petulant, but not in an overt way; just enough to be charming. Rule was sly and witty and had a great sense of humor. And rather, you know, sexy as well. The character of Crosby Drelincourt, who is the Earl of Rule's heir, is just fall-down and roll-around-in-the-floor hilarious. I don't think I've ever encountered a character quite like him.
All in all this is a fantastic little historical fiction romp through England and I'm glad I got the chance to read another book by Heyer. I plan to read many, many more of her books. This would be a great book to take on vacation.
Red Room Library Sarah Dollacker
For those who are sorely disappointed that Jane Austen's novels stop at 6, Georgette Heyer's Regency stories will happily salve the hurt. In A Convenient Marriage, Heyer takes up Austen's signature diction, tone, and characterization to spin a lively tale about unexpected outcomes; however, in this standard marriage plot, the central female, Horrie, is the rascal - not a man.
Horatia Winwood (Horrie) has good intentions when she ventures out unchaperoned and unsanctioned to approach the Earl of Rule, the wealthy gentleman who has asked for the hand of Horrie's sister, Lizzie. Horrie knows Lizzie's heart is somewhere else, so she sees no reason why she can't stand in for her sister with the Lord; after all isn't one sister as good as another? Lord Rule surprisingly agrees to marry the upstart young girl, who evolves from delightful innocent to gambler and ingenue - or at least that's what the gossips are saying about her, which makes a few of Lord Rule's enemies - and his mistress - smile like cheshire cats. If they can prove that Horrie is not worthy of Rule's association, they may succeed in accomplishing their ultimate desire: Rule's embarrassment and fall from social grace for his enemies; and his devoted attention for his mistress.
Yet, the ill-wishers neglect to take into account that Rule may have different ideas about Horrie. After much deception, a sword fight, and great suspense, what starts out as a convenient marriage turns into something entirely different at the end.
This was one of the first books I read by Heyer and it has remained one of my favourites ever since. I reread it recently and since I had never written a review I decided to do it this time. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed it as much as the first time.
The Earl of Rule has decided it's time to marry and for his bride chooses Miss Winwood less from inclination then from her impeccable bloodline. But Miss Winwood already has a beau and the Miss Charlotte Winwood is determined not to marry so the youngest of the family - Miss Horatia Winwood decides to take matters into her own hands and offer herself as prospective bride. It is fun to see how Rule is instantly charmed by the plain, stammering Horry and not only agrees to the change of bride as to becoming the patron of Miss Winwood's beau.
Like other Heyer novels The Convenient Marriage is full of witty dialogues and interesting conversations between the characters. Horry and Rule have a big age gap and she tries to be as adult as possible, keeping out of his way and his affairs but it is quite obvious from the beginning that Rule likes her as she is and is determined to be patient and considerate with his wife.
Horatia gets herself in various degrees of trouble, especially by befriending one of Rule's old enemies, and things aren't helped by Rule's cousin trying to make mischief between them. I was also quite amused by Horry's brother Pelham, the inveterate gambler who run through the family fortune but has a high sense of propriety and can't understand why Rule doesn't have a heavier hand when dealing with his sister. And in the end it is lovely to see Rule save Horry from herself... Although she is sometime too childish and immature he is a wonderful wise hero who totally makes up for it.
This is a fun Georgian romance that I highly recommend!
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January 01, 2009
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Excerpt from Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
Lady Winwood being denied, the morning caller inquired with some anxiety for Miss Winwood, or, in fact, for any of the young ladies. In face of the rumour which had come to her ears it would be too provoking if all the Winwood ladies were to withhold themselves. But the porter held the door fully open and said that Miss Winwood was at home.
Directing the coachman of her extremely smart town carriage to wait for her, Mrs Maulfrey stepped into the dim hall, and said briskly: 'Where is Miss Winwood? You need not be at the trouble of announcing me.'
All the young ladies, it seemed, were in the small saloon. Mrs Maulfrey nodded, and walked across the hall with a click of her high heels. As she ascended the stairs her armazine skirts, spread over very large paniers a coudes, brushed the banisters on either side of her. She reflected, not for the first time, that the stairway was too narrow, and the carpet positively shabby. She would be ashamed for her part of such old-fashioned furnishings; but although she claimed cousinship, she was not, she admitted to herself, a Winwood of Winwood.
The small saloon, by which name the porter designated a back sitting-room given over to the use of the young ladies, lay up one pair of stairs, and was well known to Mrs Maulfrey. She tapped with her gloved hand on one of the panels of the door, and entered on the echo of her knock.
The three Misses Winwood were grouped by the window, presenting an artless and agreeable picture. Upon a faded yellow satin sopha sat Miss Winwood and Miss Charlotte, their arms entwined about each other's waists. They were much alike, but Miss Winwood was held to be the greater beauty. Her classic profile was turned to the door, but upon Mrs Maulfrey's rustling entrance she looked round and displayed to the visitor a pair of melting blue eyes and a sweet, arched mouth that formed at the moment an O of mild surprise. A quantity of fair curls dressed without powder and threaded by a blue riband framed her face and tumbled on to her shoulders in several ordered locks.
Miss Charlotte was not seen to advantage beside the Beauty of the Family, but she was a true Winwood, with the famous straight nose and the same blue eyes. Her curls, not quite so fair as her sister's, owed their existence to hot irons, her eyes were of a shallower blue, and her colouring inclined towards the sallow; but she was allowed to be a very well-looking young lady.
Miss Horatia, the youngest of the three, had nothing that declared her lineage except her nose. Her hair was dark, her eyes a profound grey, and her brows, nearly black and
rather thick, were quite straight, and gave her a serious, almost frowning, expression. No amount of careful training would induce an arch in them. She was quite half a head
shorter than her sisters, and, at the age of seventeen, was obliged regretfully to admit that she was not likely to grow any taller.
When Mrs Maulfrey came into the room Horatia was seated on a low stool by the sopha, propping her chin in her hands, and scowling dreadfully. Or perhaps, thought Mrs Maulfrey, that was just a trick of those preposterous eyebrows.
All three sisters wore morning toilets of worked muslin over slight hoops, with tiffany sashes round their waists. Countrified, thought Mrs Maulfrey, giving her fringed silk mantle a satisfied twitch.
'My dears!' she exclaimed. 'I came the instant I heard! Tell me at once, is it true? Has Rule offered?'
Miss Winwood, who had risen gracefully to receive her cousin, seemed to droop and to grow pale. 'Yes,' she said faintly. 'Alas, it is quite true, Theresa.'
Mrs Maulfrey's eyes grew round with respect. 'Oh, Lizzie!' she breathed. 'Rule! A Countess! Twenty thousand a year, I have heard, and I daresay it may be found to be more!'
Miss Charlotte set a chair for her, observing with a reproving note in her voice: 'We believe Lord Rule to be a most eligible gentleman. Though no one,' she added, clasping Miss Winwood's hand tenderly, ';however genteel, could be worthy of our dearest Lizzie!'
'Lord, Charlotte!' said Mrs Maulfrey tartly, 'Rule's the biggest prize in the market, and you know it. It is the most amazing piece of good fortune ever I heard. Though I will say,
Lizzie, you deserve it. Yes, you do, and I am quite enchanted for you. Only to think of the Settlements!'
'I find the thought of Settlements particularly indelicate, Theresa,' said Miss Charlotte. 'Mama will no doubt arrange with Lord Rule, but Lizzie cannot be supposed to concern herself with such sordid questions as the size of Lord Rule's fortune.'
The youngest Miss Winwood, who all the time had continued to sit with her chin in her hands, suddenly raised her head and delivered herself of one shattering word. 'S-stuff !' she said, in a deep little voice that just quivered on a stammer.
Miss Charlotte looked pained; Miss Winwood gave a rather wan smile. 'Indeed, I fear Horry is in the right,' she said sadly.
'It is just the Fortune.' She sank on to the sopha again, and gazed fixedly out of the window.
Mrs Maulfrey became aware that the steady blue eyes were swimming in tears. 'Why, Lizzie!' she said. 'One would think you had had dark tidings instead of a splendid Offer!'
'Theresa!' intoned Miss Charlotte, putting both arms about her sister. 'Is this worthy of you? Can it be that you have forgotten Mr Heron?'
Mrs Maulfrey had forgotten Mr Heron. Her jaw dropped slightly, but she recovered in a moment. 'To be sure: Mr Heron,' she said. 'It is very afflicting, but - Rule, you know! I don't say poor Mr Heron is not a very estimable creature, but a mere lieutenant, dearest Lizzie, and I daresay will soon have to go back to that horrid war in America - it's not to be thought of, my love!'
'No,' said Elizabeth in a suffocated voice. 'Not to be thought of.'
Horatia's dark gaze dwelled broodingly on her second sister. 'I think it would be a very good thing if Charlotte were to have R-Rule,' she pronounced.
'Horry!' gasped Charlotte.
'Lord, my dear, what things you say!' remarked Mrs Maulfrey indulgently. 'It's Elizabeth Rule wants.'
Horatia shook her head vehemently. 'No. Only a Winwood,' she said in the tense way she had. 'All arranged years ago. I d-don't believe he's set eyes on L-Lizzie upwards of half a d-dozen times. It can't signify.'