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Worthy, but don't let this be your first Heyer regency
on September 11, 2012
There are less than a handfull of regency romance (with a dash of mystery) authors that could be considered on par with Heyer's stellar writing, but even though she is in a class of her own, if you have never read Heyer before, I beg you not to read this one first - truly, it is better than most regencies out there but is a fair disappointment when compared to many other's of Heyer's works (my very favorite being These Old Shades.)
Here, the dialogue is witty but just not AS witty. That said, my biggest annoyance lies with the heroine - immature, petty and judgmental; perhaps we can forgive her these not-pretty qualities as she is a great beauty and a great heiress, a situation which we assume resulted in her being overly pampered and quite sheltered from reality. As well, Heyer obviously endeavors throughout the book to show us that her young heiress is not without conscience and she does grow as the book progresses - she just doesn't grow fast enough for my liking! :)
I also feel that too many of the tense situations that occur in the book are due to the much dreaded plot contrivance of "the misunderstanding". I do hate this contrivance more than any other, and at some point, after enough "misunderstandings", I as a reader feel like throwing in the towel.
And yet, despite these criticisms, you must wonder why I rate this so well as 4 stars? Alas, even a disappointing Heyer (yes, there are maybe one or two others in addition to this one) deserves no poorer a rating, for a dull gem in her collection becomes a shiny diamond amongst drab pebbles when compared to the whole of the genre.