Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “romance”

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #100 An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

An Infamous Army was the novel Georgette Heyer was most proud of.  It tells the story of a romance set during Waterloo.  Heyer is famous for her attention to detail and her research but in this book she absolutely surpassed herself in learning every detail of the the circumstances leading up to Waterloo and of the battle itself.  At one point, the book was studied at Sandringham for its excellent descriptions of the battle.  Unfortunately, this book just did not work for me.  I applaud its ambition but I found it almost interminable.  For one thing, I didn’t care very much about the couple whose love story is supposed to move the plot along.  For another, the pages and pages of descriptions of Wellington’s interactions and thoughts, of battle-scenes, did not really marry very well to the love story that’s supposed to tie this story together.  I think if Heyer had simply written a novel of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo, this book might have been more satisfying but the different elements of this novel were not woven together well.  I think this book is worth checking out for people who love this period and hunger for well-constructed descriptions of Waterloo, otherwise, I don’t really recommend it.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #99 The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

The Talisman Ring is another of Georgette Heyer’s swashbuckling 18th century romances, very much in the vein of the Scarlet Pimpernel.  It’s light and fun and entertaining and forgettable.  An enjoyable read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #97 Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been rereading Georgette Heyer’s historical romances chronologically.  Devil’s Cub is a sequel to These Old Shades (which is one of my all-time favorite of Heyer’s novels) and has as its hero Vidal, the son of Avon and Léonie from the earlier novel.  Because the book is set a generation after These Old Shades, it can be read on its own.  While this book isn’t my favorite of Heyer’s books, it’s easily in the top ten of her best books.  It’s laugh out loud funny, moves along at a smart pace and is peopled by vivid characters.  Great fun.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #95 The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

If I were to write a top five list of my all-time favorite Georgette Heyer novels, this one would definitely qualify.  Set in the 18th century, this romantic comedy has one of Georgette Heyer’s most captivating heroines – the stammering, diminutive Horry.  The Convenient Marriage is one of the first Heyer novels to be enlivened a pack of dimwitted and silly young society men (think Wooster in PG Wodehouse’s books) whose antics add a dimension of hilarity to the storyline.  This bright, light, witty romantic comedy is an absolute delight to read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #94 The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

As a close and passionate reader of Georgette Heyer’s novels (some of them I’ve read easily a dozen times), I’ve noticed that she seems to be heavily influenced by William Shakespeare’s comedies.  The Masqueraders shows this influence more than any of her other books.  In it a con artist brother and sister, fleeing the disastrous Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, hide their identities by cross-dressing.  The brother dresses as a woman, the sister as a man.  They rescue a damsel in distress at an inn and are soon drawn into the expected romantic hijinks.  This is by no means the best of Georgette Heyer’s novels, but it is a light, entertaining, fun read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #93 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

This is absolutely one of my favorite Georgette Heyer novels.  It is almost a sequel to her first novel, The Black Moth.  Almost all the main characters are here but with different names and slight adjustments to their back stories (hence the title).  It’s a swashbuckling historical romance in the vein of Scarlet Pimpernel and Alexandre Dumas and is absolutely delightful to read.  Georgette Heyer is one of the most elegant and witty prose writers I’ve ever come across.  She’s like a cross between Jane Austen and PG Wodehouse but with an air of sophistication and an exquisiteness of taste that is all her own.  This book is an excellent example of why Heyer’s writing has been so admired by various more famous writers such as A.S. Byatt.  But this book is not just well-written – it’s blessed with one of her best plots and most memorable characters.  It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry and which you will close with a smile on your face.  If you are only going to read one Georgette Heyer novel, then I nominate this as one of the contenders for that slot.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #92 Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer

Although Georgette Heyer is most famous as THE Regency romance novelist, she did not write her first Regency romance until she was ten years into her career.  Up until that point she played around with several different types of historical novels and mysteries.  As a teenager, Baroness Orczy (of Scarlet Pimpernel fame) was one of her favorite novelists and so quite a few of Heyer’s earlier romantic comedies are set in the 18th century and are very much in that adventurous, swashbuckling mode.  Powder and Patch is a straight up romantic comedy (almost no swashbuckling, though there is a duel) set in the 18th century and it is probably my least favorite of her romantic comedies.  It’s only her second novel, and she still hadn’t found her voice as a writer.  Unless you’re a completionist and want to read all the Heyers, I’d say give this one a pass.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #90 The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the first in a series of historical romantic swashbucklers that Baroness Orczy wrote about the title character, which form the basis for countless film and television adaptations. It features a foppish aristocrat who secretly spirits aristocrats out of France, saving them from the guillotine. It was written over a hundred years ago and is totally dated in its politics and characterizations but for all that it’s a cracking good read and I would recommend it.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #88 The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

The Black Moth is the first novel written by legendary historical romance novelist Georgette Heyer.  It’s a swashbuckling romantic adventure in the vein of the Scarlett Pimpernel. This is the only one of Heyer’s novels available as a free download but if you’re only going to read one Georgette Heyer novel this should not be the one.  She wrote this book while she was still in her teens and it shows.  The plot, dialogue and characters have none of her accustomed sophistication.  For all that, there are signs of the greatness to come and it’s pretty astonishing that such a young person could have written with such wit and attention to detail.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #35 – London Calling by Anna Elliott

The further adventures of Susanna and Captain Clark, who is actually Lord James Ravenwood.  They’re now engaged, and he’s still doing the spy thing for king and country.  England is still at war with France, and James has to go to London to do some intriguing.

Susanna follows him, mostly because she’s jealous and afraid he might cheat on her.  Sounds legit.  Of course Susanna gets involved, at first without James knowing.  She gets into a few scrapes, and needs a bit of rescuing. She stays with her flighty Aunt Ruth in London, and auntie gets involved too.

It’s pretty easy to determine how everything all shakes out, but that’s not to say the book isn’t entertaining.  It’s yet another fun little piece of fluff, a great distraction and a quick, breezy read.

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