No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017/87: Devil's Cub -- Georgette Heyer (reread)

"You are not in the least afraid of what I may do to you! Are you?"
"Not at the moment, sir," she admitted. "But when you have broached your second bottle, I own to some qualms."
"Let me inform you, ma’am, that I am not considered dangerous until the third bottle."
Miss Challoner looked at him with a faint smile. "My lord," she said frankly, "you become dangerous immediately your will is crossed. I find you spoiled, impetuous, and shockingly overbearing."
"Thank you," said his lordship. [p.116]
I confess I prefer Heyer's Georgian romances (typically written early in her career) to her Regencies, mostly because the setting allows for more swashbuckling and opera-going. There are no trips to the opera in Devil's Cub, but there is a badly-behaved Marquis (son of the Duke of Avon, who features prominently in These Old Shades) and a determined young woman of tragically mundane origins.

Mary Challoner, intercepting a mis-addressed missive, decides that her vacuous sister should not become one of the Marquis of Vidal's conquests, and allows herself to be abducted in her sister's place: surely the Marquis will throw her back, as it were, when he realises he's caught the wrong girl?

Vidal, however, is not used to being tricked: he assumes Mary is no better than her sister, and behaves badly, whereupon she shoots him. (I remember reading this scene for the first time many years ago and laughing out loud in amazed admiration.) Then there are some misunderstandings, and Mary flees: encounters an older gentleman in an inn, who is strangely familiar and very charming: eventually, happy endings all round.

Vidal is really very vexing, and Mary initially a little dull: I wonder how they will get along together? But she does temper his wildness, and he recognises her quality despite her (not really very) lowly origins: and Vidal's family, many of whom are prone to passionate behaviour, are a delight.

There are times when rereading a cheerful, charming and witty romance is just the thing: this was my comfort whilst preparing to move house and working long days, and it worked so well that my next read was another Heyer.

No comments:

Post a Comment