Guest Review: Frederica by Georgette Heyer (1965)

Ah, romance!

There is something wonderfully comforting about reading a novel in which the most exciting element is a rather chaste kiss – the first of many, we are to believe, because nice women don’t kiss men who aren’t going to be their husbands. A place where good men are trustworthy and cads are harshly dealt with. A place where a woman’s main job is to find the perfect husband. A place where a happy ending is guaranteed.

When I’m looking to be transported to a simpler and happier place than the world in which I live, I know I can turn to the guilty pleasure of a Regency Romance. Apparently I’ve needed a bit of “transportation” this summer, because I’ve read two such books in the past two months, and enjoyed them thoroughly.

My first was Georgette Heyer’s Frederica, a delightful if predicable story about the strong-willed young woman who comes to London for a season in search of a successful match for her beautiful but slow-witted younger sister, Charis. She employs the help of a distant cousin and confirmed bachelor, The Marquis of Alverstoke, to ease Charis’ way in society. The Marquis goes along with the plan to annoy his conniving sisters, but gets more than he bargained for when he unintentionally becomes the protector of Frederica’s exuberant brothers and their bad-mannered dog, “the Baluchistan hound.” Frederica is resigned to her role as spinster and guardian to her young brothers, but I had enough faith in the genre to figure that wasn’t going to happen. Still, the energetic brothers and the Marquis’ scheming sisters make for some interesting plot twists. Nothing taxing, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

Unlike Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer, writing from her relatively comfortable 20th century perch, was herself unfettered and undamaged by the constraints imposed on her female characters by the societies she was writing about. Being so removed from the time period may be the reason she could be so sanguine about her characters’ prospects for happiness—she never suffered because of prevailing attitudes and customs of the time, like female authors of the time would have. But then, if I want to read something that accurately represents a particular time period, I read something written then – not something written two or three hundred years after the fact. A Regency Romance is just some good, clean, literary fun! If you still have time for summer reading, these romances would be good ones to put in your beach bag, or load on your e-reader.

~Col of Col Reads

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*

14 Comments

Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

14 responses to “Guest Review: Frederica by Georgette Heyer (1965)

  1. Colleen Turner

    I agree that escaping in a book that is so far removed from what you currently go through (the most important thing in your life being to find a good husband and keeping your reputation in check, etc) can be simply wonderful! Who says you have to always be realistic🙂. This sounds like a great escapist read!

  2. Great guest review — I couldn’t agree more!

  3. Ooh! Frederica is next on my list! I’ve read Devil’s Cub & Lady of Quality. The latter of which I did not enjoy. Glad to see Frederica received a good review and I know my library has it – saw it today, but picked up The Talisman Ring & Slyvester for the next two weeks. I simply LOVE Georgette Heyer, even if some of her books aren’t to my taste.😀 Thank you for this review, Col!

  4. Tressa

    I loved Frederica! It is one of the funnier Heyer’s. The crazy plot towards the end is just hilarious! I have this one and the review has made me want to read it again. Thanks for the review!

  5. My first and still so far only Heyer, but not because I didn’t love it! (review here)

  6. I loved this this book! The antics of the dog, brothers … it was so funny. I think this was one of the ones I liked the best. I think the scene where he claimed the dog as his own was one of my favorites. :o)

  7. stilettostorytime

    Everyone seems to love this book…I have to read it now. It is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks again to Col for a great review! And thanks to everyone else for sharing how much you loved it as well…made me want to read it more and more. ~Courtney

  8. Thanks for the kind comments everyone, and for allowing me to be a guest reviewer for the Georgette Heyer Gems of August event! It’s been a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to other reviews so I can plan my next Heyer! — Col

  9. Looks like a great book! I really want to read it now! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  10. I read this in high school. I really need to reread it.
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. Mary Preston

    I’m appreciating all the reviews & snippets for Georgette Heyer. They are lovely to read.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  12. This one sounds great, definitely putting it on my TBR! Loving seeing the Heyer reviews go up!

  13. Georgette Heyer is one of my favourite authors! She is such a witty writer, and I often laugh out loud when I read her books!
    It is interesting that you distinguish between historical romances written “after the fact” and those written “in the time”. I have never really thought about it like that, but the feeling of the books are definitely different.

  14. mamabunny13

    I loved this book! It gave me the giggles more than once😀

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