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The Reluctant Widow Paperback – October 1, 2008
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"This book was nothing short of pure delight...Heyer was a talented writer, indeed. " - My Friend Amy
"I'd highly recommend The Reluctant Widow to any Austen fans, or anyone who enjoys historical fiction. " - S. Krishna's Books
" I was charmed by her characters and entertained by her wit and engaging plot... The Reluctant Widow is a must-read." - Traci's Book Blog
"The Reluctant Widow reminds me much of a classic mystery tale, with the plot moving at an increasingly frantic pace, filled with quirky characters and comic mishaps." - Book Zombie
"Mystery. Suspense. Great wit. Great characters. Fast-paced... Definitely recommended." - Becky's Book Reviews
"If you are looking for good historical fiction with mystery and a dash of romance, pick up a copy of The Reluctant Widow ." - The Book Worm
"I enjoyed reading as the story unfolded and we discovered something new with each page. With The Reluctant Widow, Ms. Heyer once again demonstrates her wit and attention to detail with this delightful book." - Jennifer's Random Musings
"I was hooked from the get-go with The Reluctant Widow... a little bit of mystery, a little bit of farce but a fully, fun, fast read. This is probably my favorite Heyer so far. " - Book-a-Rama
" If you haven't read Georgette Heyer or would not normally pick up a historical romance, I strongly encourage you to give The Reluctant Widow a try" - The Literate Housewife
"Interesting characters and a well thought out plot made this into a fun read from start to finish." - Linus' Blanket
From the Inside Flap
By chance, Elinor Rochdale is swept up in a thrilling adventure. Overnight the would-be governess becomes mistress of a ruined estate and partner in a conspiracy to save a family's name. By midnight she is a bride, by dawn a widow.
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Once the job is sorted out Eleanor has to decide whether to marry Eustace who is on the verge of dying or leave the home and go to where she was suppose to be. Somehow she is convinced to marry and thus become a "Reluctant Widow". That should be the end of the story. But no, wait, there is mystery and intrigue that come along after the death.
I think you will enjoy the many characters and especially the dog (I love animals), bouncer, who comes to the rescue. I know some people thought the characters weren't developed enough, but I found no problem in knowing who is who.
If you are a Georgette Heyer fan you will enjoy this book completely.
This book has much to recommend it, an interesting story line that is not in the common way (as Beyer herself might put it), a little suspense, some decidedly comic turns, and ultimately, a happy ending. I have read it countless times over the last 50 years and look forward to reading it many more times. I only wish that it were possible to entirely forget the story so that it's delights could once again take me by surprise. I shall make do with anticipating them with relish.
in case you are curious, my other favorite Heyers include Devil's Cub, Frederica, Venetia, The Grand Sophy, Bath Tangle, and Friday's Child.
I give the book four instead of five stars because of the way Heyer did/didn't develop the main characters. Unlike most of Heyer's well-sketched love interests, Lord Carlyon was too aloof to be engaging. Also, Elinor was just a tad bit relentlessly petulant. When I look back on most of GH's other books and interesting male characters, even those most afflicted with ennui (such as caustic Duke of Avon in "These Old Shades") were extremely well-developed. Lord Carlyon, who seems to say as little as possible, remains rather guarded clear up until the end. As for Elinor, I confess I kept waiting for her to become a little bit less critical and a little more gracious. Everything seemed to work out, but I closed the book wondering what their future together would be like.
the entire book I just wanted to shake her by the shoulders! It made it hard for me to
even finish it.
There is little subtle romance in it, which is nice, but it appears extremely one-sided. That was the only thing I fear that I could not quite warm to: the heroine. She whines a lot, looks for pity but then rejects it. She constantly goes on about all the wrongs done to her, and how badly Edward 'Ned' Carlyon is such a bully, meanie, and no good person for 'forcing' her to go through all this drama.
Well I didn't like that. She even has it pointed out to her: governess vs. widow, money vs. no money, dependent vs. independent ect. No, she doesn't care. She would prefer no drama while being a governess in another house. ~rolls eyes~
This behavior bothered me the entire series, and actually made me put it down in frustration for a good fifteen minutes. Ned doesn't know what he is getting into. I kinda wish the attraction between the two was explained solely because I don't see how any male, especially one such as Ned, could put up with her, or go in it for life!
Anyway, despite my own complaints, the overall book was very very good and I would recommend it to anyone who is new or returning to Georgette Heyer. I won't extol on her virtues because I think every other review has that covered, suffice to say that she had a growing place on my shelves as I explore more and more of her works.