Penelope by Anya Wylde
I hate giving a bad review when an author gives me a free copy of a book. But the author approached me because she thought I liked humorous Regency romances & I did message her back that I usually only like the incomparable Georgette Heyer‘s Regencies & that I was in a bit of a reading slump because of Lockdown. Ms Wylde still very kindly sent me a copy.
I had a problem almost immediately with the idea of a pet goat being kept in the house. (not a spoiler – Lady Bathsheba is introduced 3% in) I’ve owned two goats & I can tell you, no one in their right mind would keep a goat indoors! We got our first goat because the previous owner claimed Hoover had eaten all the washing off their clothesline. I’m sure that was an exaggeration. Hoover was only a kid then. As an adult, not only would he have been capable of eating an entire wash – he probably would have eaten the clothes line too! Fortunately (I guess) when he got off he found more appealing targets – our rose bushes, for example!
The other thing with goats is they defecate constantly – what my husband called hundreds & thousands – & their pooh really stinks. This isn’t to say that they aren’t great pets – our second goat, Petunia, was lovely – but they need to be kept outside with appropriate shelter. I have to say, I really started questioning my life choices, when on top of everything else I had to do as a working Mum, I had to take the goat for walks. (to keep her hooves down)
This jarred me every time Lady Bathsheba appeared, because I couldn’t lose myself in a romance that I knew from other reviews had a fair few anachronisms. (such as frequently mentioning “bloomers” for women’s underpants) I made it to 31%, but I didn’t find this book funny & I thought the hero was ridiculous.
Not for me. Sorry.
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Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Confession: I needed a little pick-me-up, so I had finished this novel before the Georgette Fans Group started their reread.
A lot of really interesting things struck me this time & reminded me why this is still a 5★ read for me.
♥ Original plot idea.
♥ Great secondary characters. Even if they only appear briefly in the story, I remember them.
♥ The hero shows character development, but doesn’t turn into a completely different person. Total reformation of the man you love is never a healthy aspiration.
♥ Some of GH’s most romantic scenes. I’ve reread them twice since finishing this book.
♥ Thomas Orde is one of Gh’s best secondary characters. I just love him.
If you are a not a fan of ingenue heroines, Phoebe is the final one GH wrote. Cressy from False Colours is only 20, but an extremely mature personality.
I know in previous reads other members have found Sylvester’s nephew Edmund a very young six, but he probably wasn’t both for the time he was written, when GH wrote this (1950s) & the lack of socialisation with his peers. I quite enjoyed Edmund this time around.
I realise these are more like notes than a proper review, but this is my second review on Goodreads & I have read this particular title between 30-50 times.
I’m cutting myself some slack. 😍
April Lady by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Look, even a weaker GH romance is still head & shoulders above romances by other writers, so I have to rate GH’s novels against each other & sadly, although I am very fond of Nell & Giles, this isn’t one of GH’s best works. It was rushed out when GH was in financial difficulty – & I’m afraid it shows. GH has to work hard to sell the plot on this one. One of the many things I love about GH’s writing is that it is so effortless – but this one isn’t.
While my younger self could understand (& even sympathise) with Giles’ spoilt younger sister Letty, the crabby old bat I have become just wanted to shake her – hard.
But, Dysart is one of the better of GH’s irresponsible brother characters & he gets many of the best lines. The ending of this book is right up there with some of GH’s stronger works – I read it three times chuckling every single time!
It’s a good, escapist read.