Flashback: The Convenient Marriage
Flashback . . . from my 2005 reading list. I fell out of the habit of posting my older reviews. I thought this would be a good way to experiment with the way I format my posts.
Author: Georgette Heyer
Copyright: 1934 originally; 2000, Harlequin
Violence: some dueling, if I remember correctly.
Where & When: England – 1776
Who: Horatia Winwood and Marcus Drelincourt, Earl of Rule
Summary: Marcus Drelincourt, Earl of Rule, decides to make an offer of marriage to Elizabeth Winwood, oldest daughter of the late viscount. The Winwoods are in dire straits, so Elizabeth accepts, though she is in love with a young army officer, Edward Heron. However, Horatia, the youngest sister, does not think this is fair. She goes to the earl with a plan: marry her instead. Intrigued, the earl agrees, though there is a big age difference between them. The seventeen-year-old new Countess of Rule is naive and makes mistakes. The earl, however, is patient and kind. He’s also falling in love with her. His gentle wooing is confounded by the fact an old enemy is trying to ruin Horry’s reputation. It doesn’t help that his former mistress has got her own scheme to drive a wedge between the earl and his countess. Horry gets herself into a pickle that she fears may spell the end of her marriage. She enlists the aid of her brother and his best friend, with hilarious results.
Comments: One of my favorites. I love it! Horry, with her stammer and faults, is still a girl with many good qualities. She loves her family, speaks her mind, and owns up to her mistakes. She’s brave and resourceful, too. Marcus, whom I’m madly in love with, is everything a hero aught to be: he did not have to accept Horry’s proposal to take her instead of Elizabeth. He’s a true gentleman, giving Horry the chance to explain herself and make her choices, even if he knows they aren’t the best for her. He gave up his mistress when he took a wife, which many men of the age did not. The supporting cast is exceptional. The villain, Lord Robert Lethbridge, is not-over-the-top. He’s a man with a grudge. Lady Massey, the former mistress, behaves like a jilted woman, but she never goes as far as Lethbridge in her revenge. Crosby Drelincourt, provides some comic moments as the dandified heir presumptive who feels his future has slipped away the day Marcus married Horry, though they have no child yet. But the best comedy comes from Viscount Pelham Winwood and his friend, Sir Roland Pommeroy. Their efforts to help Horry is a great piece of comedy. I was laughing so hard, I cried. I could not pick one quote from the entire escapade, so I chose something from earlier.
“You shouldn’t keep the front door open. What’s to stop people coming in and hitting you over the head? It’s preposterous.”
“I wish you would go home.”
— Viscount Winwood, Lord Lethbridge