I’ve tried several times this year to love Georgette’s mysteries as much as I love her romances, but after listening to Sylvester on audio book on my way home for Christmas, I’ve decided it’s no use – there is a lightness in her romances that is missing from her mysteries. Sylvester was absolutely delightful. Plus, it was read by Richard Armitage! It’s not hard to love a book when it’s read to you by the king of the dwarves.
Phoebe Marlow is a budding author who wrote a book skewering several prominent members of the upper-class Ton after her first season in London. She is horrified when Sylvester, Duke of Sulford, shows up at her father’s house to supposedly make an offer for her hand. Sylvester has a reputation for being cold and arrogant, and she had made him the villain of her book (under a pseudonym, of course – genteel young ladies didn’t do such vulgar things as novel-writing). He needs a wife to run his estate, and Phoebe is unfortunately eligible.
Determined to marry only for love, Phoebe flees with her childhood friend Tom. They get stuck in an inn in a snowstorm, coincidentally alongside Sylvester and his hired man. Naturally, they all get to know each other, Phoebe learns to like and respect the man behind the villain, and they become friends as they both settle in London (Phoebe decides to move in with her grandmother, continuing her plan to run away even after she finds out Sylvester doesn’t want to marry her anyway).
The rest is pretty typical – budding love, misunderstandings keeping them apart, flirting and arguing – but the wonderfulness of Georgette’s writing makes even the most unexceptional story sing. The downside of the audio book was that I couldn’t flag pages for favorite quotes and words to look up, but it definitely made my road trip more fun.