Ah, the long dark evenings of December. Whenever I wish for a journey to a sunnier time and place, I check out a Georgette Heyer novel from the library, bring it home, and read it and read it and read it. I think it’s safe to say that I’m having somewhat of a love affair with Georgette Heyer novels just at the moment. If I were going to put a genre label on them, they would, of course, be historical romance novels; specifically the ever-popular Regency romance. But the first thing I think about when I think about Georgette Heyer novels is just how light and pleasant they are to read. So let’s talk about a couple of her nice cheery plots that I’ve been enjoying lately.
I enjoyed the novel Frederica, because Frederica herself is such a terrific manager and everyone else in the book thinks this is a wonderful thing. Frederica is one of the Merrivilles, who don’t have as much money as they used to but do have daughters to launch into London society. The competent, managing Frederica, the eldest daughter, takes charge of this enterprise. She doesn’t hesitate to use every resource at her command, especially and including their cousin, Lord Alverstoke, who never, ever puts himself to any trouble for anything or anyone. Of course, he has never met Frederica, and she convinces him to introduce her family into the London ton, the upper classes, which leads to… well, it is a romance novel. I love it that the heroine isn’t Charis, the pretty younger sister, but Frederica, the charismatic sister who has a good head on her shoulders and who never loses her poise. And it’s really just a light, happy book. I recommend it.
The other one I read recently is Arabella, which made me laugh out loud during one of the courtship scenes. Not because it was silly, but because it was just so unexpectedly endearing. Arabella, the eldest daughter of an impoverished country clergyman, is invited to London to visit her godmother for the social season. She meets a town dandy, perhaps even the town dandy, Robert Beaumaris, before she even gets there, and his arrogance leads her to falsely claim that she is a wealthy heiress. Arabella is also young and beautiful, and, along with the (false) rumors of her wealth, these lead her to tremendous popularity in town. Even though she has been warned against Beaumaris, Arabella allows herself to be seen in public with him as often as she can, because it is good for her socially. This leads to amusing and predictable results.
I will say that these are light romance novels, and you can see the denouement coming a mile away in every one that I’ve read. But the journey toward the romantic resolution is so very pleasant that the predictability just doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can bask in sunny enjoyment on every page.
Other pleasant historical romance novels include:
Someone to Care by Mary Balogh
The Trouble with True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke
A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe