December Minireviews

So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just don’t have a lot of things to say about.  Sometimes it’s because it was a super meh book (most of these are 3/5 reads), or sometimes it’s because it was just so happy that that’s about all I can say about it!  However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something.  So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.

Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry

//published 1951//

This is an easy 4/5 read, and a childhood favorite – it just isn’t very long, so I don’t have a lot to say about it.  It’s an oversized book full of gorgeous illustrations by my fave, Wesley Dennis.  Each chapter is about a different breed of horse.  I love how Henry usually manages to tell a little story or anecdote about each breed.  She even says in the afterword that writing this book inspired her to write several of her other stories, because the little mini-story she was writing in Album just got way too involved and interesting!  If you have a young horse lover in your life, this is a perfect gift book.  The illustrations are amazing, and it’s just the right amount of information to get them going.

I will say that, rereading as an adult, I was intrigued by how some of the chapters did actually feel dated.  Album was published in 1951, and she says things about various draft horses still being used to plow fields, which was in fact still happening in the 1940’s, but has disappeared pretty much completely almost 70 years later.  However, rather than detracting from the book, I felt that it gave it even more charm!

Bronco Charlie by Henry Larom

//published 1951//

This children’s book is about a boy who becomes the youngest rider ever for the Pony Express.  It seems like a completely improbable tale, but I looked it up, and most of it is actually true!  I picked this up at a booksale eons ago, but hadn’t read it in years.  Of course, I was attracted to it because of the illustrations…  by Wesley Dennis!  Have I mentioned that he was an artistic genius??  :-D  In all seriousness, his pencil drawings really do add so much to this story, and made me want to saddle up right along with Charlie.  This is an adorable story, and definitely deserves a slot on the children’s bookshelves here at my house.

A Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

//published 1972//

Another 4/5 read – the perfect combination of fun, frothy, and witty that Heyer always presents, even if it is in a rather predictable pattern!

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

//published 2015//

I’ve never actually read a book by Hoover before, but Stephanie mentioned reading this one a while back, so I thought maybe it would be a good place to start.  In this story, Fallon meets Ben right before she moves from California to New York.  They have an instantaneous connection, but Fallon doesn’t want to start a relationship at that moment.  Instead, they agree to meet on November 9 for the next five years, but to have no contact with each other – not even through social media – in between.

This book has a fun concept and I did enjoy it for the most part, but it began to feel kind of same-y, since we only get the story on November 9 each year – nothing in between.  Fallon and Ben are super insta-love-y, which I would have been okay with, except it began to translate into the sexual, so now the November 9 dates not only don’t have a lot of story, they do have a decent amount of sex, which also felt kind of weird since they don’t actually know each other all that well.  There was also a decent amount of swearing, and there is nothing like a string of completely unnecessary f-bombs to put me off a book.

Part of the problem was that I never liked Ben, like not even a little. I thought he was obnoxious and pushy and kind of a creeper. And while I did think the twist was clever, it didn’t really make me like Ben even more. He’s still kind of a self-centered whiner.

I did like the ending and felt like things came together well, and I really did want to see how things turned out, but overall I felt pretty meh about the whole book, and not particularly inspired to look up more of Hoover’s works.

The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne

//published 2005//

This story is about a woman who opens an agency that helps men get their lives together – she’ll help them shop for the right clothes, purchase nice gifts for people, redecorate their apartments, etc.  She’ll also provide herself as a date to various events where a plus one is needed – basically, she’ll help you with girlfriend stuff – but “no laundry, no sex.”  I really liked this concept and thought that this book would be about Melissa having various misadventures helping befuddled bachelors.  But this book turned out to be surprisingly boring.  Melissa aggravated me to no end, with her complete lack of self-confidence and the way she always knuckled under to her dad.  Her relationship with her long-time friend/flatmate (who is a guy) seemed extremely weird and confusing to me, especially since she was supposedly falling in love with this other guy.  Her dad was so horrifically obnoxious that I could hardly stand reading the scenes where she had to deal with him.  I was also confused about how Melissa was supposedly starting her own business but seemed to have no concept of how much money she had/was making/was spending…  I feel like I keep better records for my small, part-time Etsy shop than Melissa was keeping for a business that is supposedly becoming her livelihood.

I will say that I appreciated the lack of sex in this book.  While there were some romantic scenes, there was no shagging, and Melissa doesn’t sleep with anyone for the entirety of the book!  This was so refreshing and made me frustrated that I didn’t enjoy the book more overall.

The biggest problem was that this book wasn’t remotely funny.  There weren’t any humorous scenes at all, and there was so much potential!  Instead, it was basically just listening to Melissa waffle around and be stressed, which got kind of old after a while.  The next biggest problem was that there was not a single happily married person in the entire story.  Everyone who was married was miserable.  And I honestly didn’t feel like Melissa’s guy was going to make her happy, either.  It really put a damper on the overall tone of the book.

In short, this book didn’t make me feel happy to read, which is the whole purpose of chick lit.  It honestly made me feel low-grade stressed because I disagreed with so many of Melissa’s decisions.  And without anything funny to leaven the story, it just sort of dragged on with an overall dark gray tone to life.  3/5 for being fairly readable, but not particularly recommend.  At least I can mark this series off the TBR without bothering to read the other two books.

The Man Upstairs & Other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse

//published 1914//

Honestly, this was my least-favorite collection of Wodehouse stories that I’ve read to date.  While they weren’t terrible, they really lacked that sparkle and wit that I think of as trademark Wodehouse.  If I hadn’t known that these were Wodehouse stories, I wouldn’t have guessed it.  They were just rather flat, several with abrupt endings.  Not terrible for a one-time read, but rather disappointing on the whole, as I’ve come to expect more from Wodehouse, even with his earlier works.

November Minireviews

So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about.  However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something.  So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.

The Voyage to Magical North and The Journey to Dragon Island by Claire Fayers

//published 2016//

I have to say that I actually really, really enjoyed these books, so the whole “meh” feeling doesn’t really apply here.  I gave them an easy 4/5 and completely enjoyed joining Brine on her unexpected pirate ship adventure.  Fayers did a great job with world-building – as an adult, I still found interesting and engaging, but I think that the target audience (middle school) would still easily be able to follow the simple yet involved rules of Brine’s world.

//published 2017//

Brine herself is a very fun heroine, and I felt like her character was balanced out well by Peter, and later Tom.  All in all, I enjoyed how the characters didn’t really fall into stereotypes, but also didn’t feel like they were trying to not fall into stereotypes.

I would definitely recommend these fun and magical little books, and will be looking out for further adventures of Brine & co. in the future.

Cinchfoot by Thomas Hinkle

//published 1938//

Another Famous Horse Story, I found this one to be a bit boring.  Cinchfoot just sort of meanders about but there isn’t a really strong plot or story that feels like it is pulling things along.  Not a bad read, but not one I see myself returning to again.  3/5.

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater

//published 1979//

While this wasn’t my favorite Pinkwater book ever, it still had some very funny moments.  I also think that Pinkwater’s thoughts/views on the educational system are brilliantly insightful and cutting.  I also loved the way that Lionel realized that if he wasn’t learning things, it was his own fault at some level.  Some of the adventures the boys have are quite ridiculous, but the ridiculous is exactly what Pinkwater writes so well.  3.5/5 and I do recommend it, but only if you’ve read some of Pinkwater’s stronger works first.

The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

//published 1946//

This was a pretty adorable little Heyer tale.  I did find Carlyon a bit too overbearing at times, but Elinor was just too adorable, as was Carlyon’s younger brother.  I quite enjoyed the way that the love story was secondary to all the ridiculous spy tales.  Fun and frothy; classic Heyer.  4/5.

The Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve

//published 2017//

So I purchased this edition because of the amazing illustrations by MinaLima.  My husband gave me some money for my birthday that he said was specifically for books, and, more specifically, I must purchase at least one book that I’ve been not purchasing because of its unreasonable expense!  This one fit the bill – but it was worth every penny, as the book itself is absolutely gorgeous. The illustrations are amazing – not just the big, fancy, interactive ones, but all the details on every page.

It was also interesting to read the original version of B&B – it’s a great deal more convoluted and involved than the traditional version we see these days, as Beauty has eleven (!!!) siblings, and there are multiple chapters devoted to a complicated backstory with fairy feuds.  It was still a very engaging story, although I can see why it has evolved the way that it has, getting rid of some of the extraneous characters and building more personality among those that are left.

Anyway, this was definitely a worthwhile purchase and read, and I can see myself returning to this gorgeous book many times in the future.

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner by Ann Larkin Hansen

//published 2017//

This is another Storey book, and another addition to their Backyard Homestead series.  While this book did have some interesting information, and I did like the format where things were laid out by season, it was definitely an outline type of a book.  There wasn’t really a lot of depth about anything, making this more of a starting-point reference rather than an end-all tome.  It makes a nice addition to my collection, but definitely wouldn’t be the book I would choose if I could only have one homesteading manual.  Still, excellent formatting and very nicely put together, as I’ve come to expect from Storey.

The Little Nugget by P.G. Wodehouse

//published 1913//

This was a fun little tale of a very obnoxious little boy who is worth a great deal of money, and so has multiple people attempting to kidnap him for various reasons.  While there were several funny moments and it was overall an enjoyable tale, it wasn’t as developed as most of Wodehouse’s later works, and lacked that sort of bubbly perfection.  It was an easy 3/5 read and one that I do recommend, but not if it is your first foray into the world of Wodehouse.

July Minireviews – Part 1

So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about.  However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something.  So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.

Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer

//published 1956//

Actually, I felt more than “meh” about this book – it was a delight, and an easy 4/5.  However, what can one say about Heyer’s work that hasn’t already been said?  The characters were lively and clever, the adventure took many hilarious twists, and there happy endings handed out all around.  Heyer is always so relaxing and pleasant – never any niggling doubts as to whether or not everything will end with sunshine and rainbows.  I really loved everyone in this book, and it had me snorting with laughter on more than one occasion.  It felt like the ending was a bit rushed/it would have been nice to see a little bit more of a love story between Gareth and Hester, but all in all this story was just super adorable and happy.

Also, it was #10 for #20BooksofSummer!

Sunlight & Shadow by Cameron Dokey

//published 2004//

I really liked Dokey’s fairy tale retellings (this is the third I’ve read).  This story moved right along.  It was a little weird because Dokey used five first-person perspectives, and never told us who we were jumping to next, you just kind of had to read a few sentences and figure it out.  This felt weird at first, but once I got into the groove, it worked completely.  The voices were actually really, really similar, though, so it was mostly the actual circumstances that indicated who was doing the talking.

In her afterword, Dokey said that this book was actually inspired by the story from one of Mozart’s operas, which I found entertaining.  It has a very mythological flavor, since the main character (Mina) is the daughter of the Queen of Night and the Mage of Day.  The story is not just about Mina finding true love (which of course she does), but about the balance between light and darkness.  As always, Dokey has a slim thread of thoughtfulness running throughout a story that appears to be all fluff and lightheartedness, leaving me thinking about it a bit after I’ve finished.

An easy 3.5/5 and a very pleasant read, as well as being #12 for #20BooksofSummer!

Unwilling by Elizabeth Adams

In this Pride & Prejudice variation, shortly after the Netherfield Ball, Mr. Bennett finds out that he doesn’t have much longer to live.  He regrets wasting time and money, and decides to do the best that he can to make up for it.  He makes a bunch of rules for the girls, including sending Lydia back to the schoolroom, and gives them actual lessons to do, which feels a little bit weird since Jane and Elizabeth are in their 20’s.  Mr. Bennett is also determined that if any eligible suitors come asking, he will marry the girls off, as long as it doesn’t seem like the guy is a total jerk.  So at Hunsford, Mr. Darcy asks Mr. Bennett for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, and Mr. Bennett says yes.

All in all, this was actually a really pleasant P&P variation.  It was definitely PG13 – a lot of innuendo and discussions, but nothing explicit.  It was also quite refreshing that there were no ridiculous villains.  However, it did feel like only Elizabeth was doing the changing.  In the original, both Darcy and Elizabeth realize their shortcomings, but in this version, Darcy didn’t really seem to have any.  Towards the end, he is really insulting towards the Gardiners when he meets them for the first time.  Elizabeth takes him to task and Darcy apologizes, but he never interacts with them again in the story, so it didn’t necessarily come through that he really felt remorseful about the situation.

Still, a pleasant story and an easy way to spend an afternoon.  3.5/5.

The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

//published 1901//

Burnett is another one of those authors whose two most famous books – The Secret Garden and A Little Princess – were childhood favorites (that I still love today), but somehow I’ve never really checked to see if she wrote anything else.  So I added The Making of a Marchioness, along with its sequel, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst to my 20 Books of Summer list.

This was a pleasant read, but was almost like an outline of a book rather than a full-length story.  It’s only around 180 pages with large print, so more of a novella.  Still, the main character, Emily, was rather adorable, even though she was almost absurdly nice.  Through a series of events she gets invited to a country house party (mainly so she can do a bunch of errands for the hostess) and ends up marrying the most eligible bachelor there.

However, there really isn’t much of a love story.  Walderhurst admires her from afar, but during his proposal, he says that he “must marry, and I like you better than any woman I have ever known.  … I am a selfish man, and I want an unselfish woman.”  It doesn’t seem particularly romantic that he’s marrying her because she won’t make very many demands on his time or purse, but overall he seems like a fine fellow, so I actually did end the book believing that they would deal well together.  A 3/5 and I am intrigued to read the sequel.  Also, #15 for #20BooksofSummer!

Cousin Kate

//by Georgette Heyer//published 1968//

CousinKate  So this little regency gem by one of my favorite authors was quite a bit different from the other Heyer works I’ve read.  While still engaging and interesting, full of delightful dialogue and likable characters, Cousin Kate was a more melodramatic work, with an underlying tension that was actually quite exciting.

Our story opens with the heroine, Kate, arriving at the home of her childhood nurse, Sarah (excellent name, that).  Kate, an orphan, was left penniless a year (a few years?  a few months?  not exactly sure how long) earlier and has been attempting to earn her living as a governess.  Dismissed from that position thanks to the unwelcome attentions of the son of the master of the house, Kate has come back to Sarah’s to regroup and decide what to do next with her life.

 Of course, as we know, job opportunities for gently bred young women in the Regency era were not numerous.  Sarah, determined that Kate should have the “good” things in life, which Sarah believes Kate deserves, goes behind Kate’s back and contacts one of Kate’s only living relatives (her mother was disowned by her mother’s people when her mother married Kate’s father), Kate’s father’s half-sister.  Much to everyone’s surprise, Aunt Minerva immediately dashes up to London and (figuratively) sweeps Kate into her arms and insists that Kate comes to live with her at Aunt Minerva’s country manor, Staplewood.  Here, Aunt Minerva lives with her (much older) husband, Sir Timothy, and their son (a few years younger than Kate), Torquil, who is also invalidish – he has never really gone anywhere beyond the immediate environs of Staplewood, being too delicate to go away to school or to enjoy a Season in London.

At first, Kate enjoys the pleasure and rest of Staplewood, but, being an intelligent, sociable, industrious young woman, the inactivity and lack of companionship begins to wear on Kate.  Also, the relationships between her three relatives seem…  odd.  When Sir Timothy’s nephew, Phillip, arrives for a visit, things become even more strained.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cousin Kate.  Although in some ways the story was slow, it rarely felt as though it dragged.  Heyer manages to slowly reveal several characters to be more sinister than they first appear, and Kate’s realization that all is not well is completely natural and oddly creepy.  Throughout, there is a sense of unease, and uncertainty of whom one can actually trust to be the person they claim to be.

However, there are so rather lengthy monologues that aren’t terribly interesting, especially as several times one person would tell Kate what they thought about another (at length) and then a few pages later, Kate would have to listen to the previously-discussed person explain why they were, in fact, exactly as the other had thought they were …  in other words, it was almost the same monologue twice in the same chapter, which was a bit monotonous at times.

The ending also felt rather abrupt.  While not necessarily dissatisfying, it was sudden (can you have a sudden ending on page 318?  Yes, yes you can), leaving me not 100% convinced of Kate’s future happiness (although I would say I was left 95% sure, which, on the whole, probably isn’t too bad).

Kate is a strong protagonist, someone I really liked and was definitely rooting for.  She is kind, industrious, intelligent, funny, and brave.  She tries to find the best in people and situations, but faces up to trouble when it meets her.  Even though her life had thrown her plenty of difficulties, she was still determined to make her own way on her own terms.

Cousin Kate was an excellent read.  While different from the more lighthearted Heyer novels I’ve enjoyed in the past, the more “gothic” aspect of the story was actually a fun change of pace.  4/5 – definitely recommended, especially for other Heyer fans.

Charity Girl

by Georgette Heyer

published 1970

3486146   Alrighty, first things first:  Is this cover creepy, or is this cover creepy?  I mean, seriously.  Everything about the girl in this picture is completely disturbing, and (surprise) not at all like what happened in the book.  (You know, it’s bad enough that movies destroy good books without the covers getting in on the game).

Anyway.  So life has been crazy per usual.  If you want to know what I’ve been doing with my life, feel free to check out the house blog…  my kitchen is currently very much under construction!

Today I’m off work.  A really bad head cold is giving me the excuse I need to hang out on my bed surrounded by my computer, books, and a cat.  I’m slowly getting caught up on emails and reading people’s blogs, and am already planning my post-lunch nap.  A head cold is really only a pain when you have to leave your house.

So – on to Charity Girl.  I’m slowly working my way through all of Heyer’s regency tales, and Charity Girl was a new read for me.  While it was a fine little story, it’s not my new favorite or anything.  A pretty solid 3/5.  The characters are likable but not memorable, and it lacks that witty dialogue that so often makes Heyer’s books delightful.

Lord Desford aka Ashley Carrington (probably aka something else…  I mean, really, why does everyone in the Regency period have to have fifteen names apiece?  I understand the technically why, but it certainly can make a story  hard to follow at times, sheesh) has a very good life.  Well off, good looking, kind, with loving parents, a nice home, a pleasant family, and, of course, the prospect of the earldom heading his way sometime in the future.  Although Desford’s parents hoped he would marry his friend and neighbor, Henrietta Silverdale, even that danger was navigated, leaving them both still single yet good friends, just the way they claim to like it.

Well, in our story (which picks up a few years after the avoided marriage), Desford heads off to visit an aunt.  While there, the family attends a party at a neighboring estate.  During the party, Desford happens to come across Cherry Steane.  Abandoned by her family, Cherry is living one step above a servant with her aunt and cousins.  Though a lovely young lady, she suffers the fate of most poor relations – love and money are showered on her cousins, but Cherry will never even get a Season.

Desford is sympathetic towards her plight, but knows of no real way to be of assistance.  (This conversation, by the way, takes place through the stair railings, hence the creepy cover picture.)  Next day, however, as he is driving back to London, whom does Des discover walking along the road??  Yep, Miss Cherry, who has run away from home.  By agreeing to give Cherry a lift to London to meet up with her grandpa (who, by all accounts, is a miserly rapscallion), Desford finds himself entangled in Cherry’s drama.  Her grandpa isn’t home, so Cherry ends up at Henrietta’s while Desford dashes about the countryside seeking Cherry’s missing grandpapa.

The story is, frankly, a bit slow.  It’s rather obvious that Desford and Henrietta are going to end up together, despite their earlier-aborted courtship, yet we don’t get much of an opportunity to see the development of that relationship, or the realization that they want to be more than friends after all.  Cherry is a bit too innocent to be interesting, and while there are a few funny scenes here and there, the whole story feels a bit impractical.

Also, while Heye’s use of Regency slang/terms is often what makes her stories enjoyable, she does sometimes go a bit over the top, and this book was stuffed with “cant” phrases –

“…if my lord ain’t cut his stick I’m a bag-pudding!  Which I ain’t!”

“You may not be a bag-pudding, but you’re one of the worst surly-boots it has ever been my ill-fortune to encounter!  …  I know very well what made you turn knaggy …”

Or –

“I am neither a noddicock nor a souse-crown, young man …  I perceived, in the twinkling of a bedpost, that he was under orders to fob me off! …  Do not be mislead into thinking that because I am not, thank God, a muckworm, I am lobcock!”

While entertaining read in short spurts, this book seemed to have more than its fair share of slang (maybe because the book focused more on a man than a woman?), which sometimes bogged me down a big.  Plus, reading any Heyer book makes me spout phrases like “I say, doing it a bit too brown!” in my general conversation, which can be awkward.

In the end, while I felt that Desford and Henrietta would, as they say, deal well together, I was disappointed in the overall lack of a love story, especially since the two main players had been separated throughout the majority of the book.  While the story was fun, it was a bit too fluffy, even for Heyer, to become a favorite.

ReRead: “Black Sheep”

BlackSheep

by Georgette Heyer

published 1967

I originally read this delightful Heyer tale back in August 2012, and it was definitely worth the reread.  The dialogue is fantastic, the characters delightful, and ending perfect.  The interaction between Abby and Miles is really just wonderful from beginning to end, making this book the perfect relaxing love story, one that I highly recommend.

Bath Tangle

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by Georgette Heyer

Published 1955

Whoa, a picture of the book!?  Madness!

It had been a while since I’d picked up a Heyer novel.  Recently, I added every book she’s ever written on my TBR (yeah, we don’t want to talk about the length of the TBR, or the fact that I add more books than I read to it every week).  While her Regency books are rarely innovative, they are super relaxing, and often entertaining.

Bath Tangle was quite typical, really, with everyone ending up engaged to the wrong someone, but magically coming together just right by the end.  One of the things that I enjoy about Heyer’s novels is that there is rarely a villain, or even someone you dislike.  Serena, the heroine, was delightfully imperfect.  Fanny, her mother-in-law (and also her junior by a few years… welcome to the Regency era lol), was as sweet and adorable as she could be.  The gentlemen were great fun and oh so gentlemanly (mostly).  Overall, Bath Tangle was all froth and bubbles, but in a happy, contented kind of way.  While this wasn’t a favorite read, like Friday’s Childit was still a great deal of fun and an easy 4/5.

A Civil Contract

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by Georgette Heyer

Published 1961

If you would like to read a book on how to be a good wife, this is it.  Jenny, a rich young heiress, marries a poor but titled young man, as a business arrangement rather than a love match.  Indeed, the young man, Lynton, is in love with another woman, Julia.  But he sets aside his feelings for the sake of practicality–his father, a gambler by nature, drained the family coffers dry before his death.  With a mother and sister to provide for, Lynton accepts the proposal of Jenny’s father–money in exchange for Jenny’s launch into genteel society.

Jenny, however, has secretly loved Lynton for some time, and is determined, not to make him love her, but to make him a good wife.  And that, I think, is why I enjoyed this book.  Jenny’s motives are pure.  She marries Lynton, and works hard to learn his ways and to please him, not because she has any yearning for a title or to attend exclusive parties (indeed, she finds that her life is happiest at Lynton’s family estate in the country), but because she simply loves Lynton and wishes his life to be happy and comfortable.

Lynton, it is only fair to say, treats Jenny very well.  Although he does not love her in a romantic way, he is always kind and patient, grateful for her efforts.  At one point in the story, he runs into Julia at a party.  She suggests that, since she is also to be married, that Lynton and she could engage in a extra-marital relationship, a common enough happenstance in a time where love matches were the exception and not the rule.  But Lynton refuses this tempting offer, determined to do right by Jenny, to treat her with the respect and honor that she, as his wife, deserves.

Heyer’s books are always happy in the ending, so it is no giveaway to say that Lynton comes to appreciate and love Jenny, and to realize that Julia’s fastidious and expensive temperament would never have suited him.  Jenny’s practical and sincere affection, not only for Lynton, but for Lynton’s home and lifestyle, make her a superior wife for Lynton in every way.

While some may deride this book for being dull, and Jenny being a little too housewifely, I found it to be refreshing.  While a long-term relationship can (and usually is) founded on passionate love, endurance comes from something deeper and steadier.  Lynton and Jenny discover that, and while there is never a moment where they leap into each other’s arms and embrace passionately, they do come to realize that a large part of a happy marriage is comfortable companionship and shared work and interests.  While this book may not get a very high grade from the romantics, I think that this couple has a far better chance of a still being happily and contentedly married in fifty years than most fictional couples.

4/5.

Cotillion

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by Georgette Heyer

Published 1953

It had been a while since I picked up a Heyer novel, so I delved into this one quite happily.  I find her stories to be delightfully relaxing, full of frivolous dialogue and drama created from the simplest of misunderstandings.  Her stories are not particularly deep or thought-provoking, but they are most certainly fun.

Cotillion turned out to be a perfect example of her best work.  The characters were very lovable–Freddy swiftly became one of my favorite Heyer characters ever, and Kitty was adorable without being dreadfully annoying.  The story ends with happy endings all around, per usual, making it a 5/5–ideal Heyer froth.

Faro’s Daughter

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by Georgette Heyer

Published 1941

Whoever it is that republished all of these books has no concept of matching covers with stories, just so you know.  The apparently just choose some random picture that has a Regency lady in it, and then throw it on the book.  Ah well.

I really enjoyed this Heyer tale.  Deb’s family has fallen on hard times, and she now helps her aunt run a genteel gaming house.  A young man, whose name I can’t remember, falls “in love” with Deb and is determined to marry her.  The young fellow’s cousin, Max, is equally determined to prevent him from making such a dreadful connection.  Max visits the gaming house to meet Deb for himself, and, completely misreading her character, offers to pay her off to prevent her from marrying the young cousin.  Deb, who is completely offended that anyone would think that she would take advantage of the cousin in such a way, immediately fires up, refuses Max’s  money, and tells the cousin that she will marry him, so long as he keeps their engagement a secret!

Throughout the course of the story, Deb and the cousin end up rescuing a damsel in distress (the cousin eventually marries her instead, making everyone very  happy), and many other adventures ensue.  Of course, Deb and Max fall in love (Heyer’s books are nothing if not predictable) and all ends well, as Max realizes Deb’s true worth.

The plot was happy and skipped merrily along with Heyer’s usual delightful dialogue and character development, making it an easy 4/5.