Royal Escape

by Georgette Heyer

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I’ve now remembered why I don’t reread this novel (about Charles Stuart’s escape from England after his army was vanquished at the Battle of Worcester.)

I’ve ‘only’ read this title about six times – & the last time would be forty years ago.

I remembered this title (in parts) being nearly as dry as My Lord John That wasn’t the case at all. The book is for the most part very well written & the future Charles II comes alive on the page. I’ve read other accounts of Charles that had him as charming, funny, one for the ladies, but at the same time watchful & one that behind the gaiety had learned to be careful of who he trusted. This book helps one understand how Charles’ character developed.

The main problem I had was with the uneven pacing and repetitive nature of the story. We were told (many times) by minor characters how tall Charles was, how supporters couldn’t believe people in the towns/villages Charles passed through didn’t recognise their rightful king. There is a reasonably extensive bibliography. GH obviously did a lot of research for this title – & didn’t want to waste a single bit!

Charles’ attitude to Jane Lane made me a bit uncomfortable. He seemed to come very close to taking advantage of a gently bred woman who worshipped him & was risking her own life to help him.  I’ve read other speculation that Charles did just that! 

Contemporary painting”King Charles II and Jane Lane riding to Bristol” by Isaac Fuller. Public Domain

And there is an account of a young woman being strip searched which seemed to be vastly amusing to Charles & his contemporaries, but that does offend 21st century eyes.

But the main reason I ended up marking the book down from 3★ was an ending that really dragged. It just never normally takes me almost two weeks to finish a Heyer title.

This is one for Heyer completists only.

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