Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I haven’t read this title for about 27 years, & my memory of Bath Tangle is that, other than the three GH wrote before her death, this was her least enjoyable romance.
I thought I was going to be proved wrong at the start. After all, I wasn’t overly fond of The Foundling & A Civil Contract in my younger years, & both are now 5★ reads for me.
And I really enjoyed the start. Serena, 25 & unmarried is orphaned by the unexpected death of her father. This results in a huge change of circumstances for Serena & her very young stepmother. Both ladies finding living on the estate’s Dower House insupportable, so move to the sedate town of Bath. & their adventures start.
On this read, I loved Serena. Yes, she has a bad temper & was no doubt spoiled & indulged by her late father. But along with grieving for a parent, she has a change of circumstances to a life that is now stifling it it’s restrictions. A highly intelligent woman, she must have been ready to scream with boredom. This book is almost feminist in that it highlights the lack of opportunity for women.
There is a lot of wit in this story & some of the funniest lines are given to minor character, Mrs Floore;
“With the aid of the baluster-rail and Mr Goring’s stalwart arm she arrived, panting but triumphant, on the first floor, and paused to take breath. Observing that Lybster was about to throw open the door into the drawing room she stopped him by the simple expedient of grasping his sleeve. Affronted, he gazed at her with much hauteur, and said in freezing accents: “Madam?”
“Looby!” enunciated Mrs Floore, between gasps. “You wait! Trying to push me in – like a landed salmon!”
As usual with GH the writing is skillful, there are some hilarious scenes, but on this reading I didn’t enjoy the secondary romance so much – & I also remembered why I don’t love this title.
I really don’t like the hero.
Ivo’s treatment of (view spoiler)[ his unfortunate fiancée, the featherheaded Emily, is appalling! (hide spoiler)] He can be kindly but mostly he is rude, arrogant & obnoxious. His saving grace is his sense of humour.
This one is enjoyable, if you don’t think about it too much, but will never be a high rotate Heyer for me.