Saturday, February 1, 2020

Regency Buck (spoiler-ish)

Regency Buck (1935) by Georgette Heyer is the first of her novels to feature the Regency period. It also (like The Corinthian) mixes historical romance with a bit of mystery. The story revolves around Judith and Peregrine (Perry) Taverner, an orphaned sister and brother whose father appointed the unknown (to the young people) Julian, fifth Earl of Worth as their guardian. This mystery man makes sure they have their needs met at their country estate, but has never appeared in their lives. 

After sending a request and waiting what she thinks an appropriate time for Worth to visit, Judith decides that they need to head to London and find out if Worth will allow them to take a house in London so Judith can be brought out into society properly. When they stop in a small town (filled to the brim with young bucks set to watch a boxing match) to break their journey, Judith finds herself accosted by an arrogant, rich man--who treats her as though he thinks she is a loose woman. She manages to prevent her reckless younger brother from entering a duel with the man (fearing for the life of the inexperienced young man) and the set off once more for London.

They expect to find the Earl of Worth to be an elderly man of their father's age. Imagine Judith's dismay when the arrogant young buck from their journey walks into the room. Having such a rocky beginning, the relationship between the two gets little better as Worth allows them to come to town and allows Judith to be presented...but then interferes with her decisions regarding possible suitors. Meanwhile, Perry--with little sense and too much money--continually gets into scrapes. He winds up challenged to a dual, held up by bandits, and nearly poisoned. And there seems to be a guiding hand behind it all. Judith has doubts about who might be masterminding the campaign against her brother--there's Worth who seems very antagonistic in his arrogance, there's Worth's brother, Captain Audley, who always seems to be about, and there is their cousin Bernard Taverner who seems to nice and friendly. It isn't until Perry is nearly shanghaied and Judith herself is kidnapped that she realizes the Earl's true worth (pun definitely intended) and discovers the devilish plot in hand.

The romance in this one gets very little play and seems really rushed and forced at the end--even more so than The Corinthian. It seems that when Heyer mixed her Regency and mystery genres the romance took a back seat. The mysterious portion of the novel is very good--though there are few candidates for chief villain, so it isn't really difficult to figure out who has it in for Perry. I still enjoyed the mystery plot very much and am giving most of the star value to that. Perhaps it's because the interactions between Judith and Worth are so sarcastic and biting (with none of the mutual attraction undercurrent) that I'm really not buying into the sudden romantic ending. ★★ 

PopSugar: Published in the 20th C
Pick Your Poison: Seconds (bought in second hand store)

First line: Newark was left behind and the post-chaise-and-four entered on a stretch of flat country which offered little to attract the eye, or occasion remark.

Last line: I am consoling myself with the reflection that your brothers way of receiving the news cannot be more unflattering to me than my tiger's opinion of it will be to you, my darling!

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