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The Reluctant Widow

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Reluctant Widow (1946) Georgette Heyer

Set in Regency England

Elinor has set out to take a position as a governess–her father’s ruin and death left her to make her own way in the world–at this point hiring out as a governess.

Unfortunately, Lord Carlyon believes her to have answered her advertisement, which is not for a governess.

‘I made no secret of my age, sir. I am perhaps older than you imagine. I am six-and-twenty.’

‘You look younger,’ he commented.

‘I hope it need not signify, sir. I assure you, I am not without experience.’

‘You can hardly have had experience of what now lies before you,’ he retorted.

A dreadful suspicion crossed Miss Rochdale’s mind. ‘Good heavens, he is not – he surely cannot be – deranged, sir?’ she exclaimed.

‘No, he is quite sane,’ he answered. ‘It is brandy, not madness, to which the greater part of his propensity for evil is attributable.’

Brandy?’ she gasped. He raised his brows.

‘Yes, I thought you had not been told the whole,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I intended – and indeed ordered – otherwise.’

Instead he wants her to marry his odious cousin.

‘But I do not want to be a widow!’ declared Elinor.

‘I am afraid it is now too late in the day to alter that,’ said Carlyon.

‘Besides, if you had known my cousin better you would have wanted to be a widow,’ Nicky assured her.

Nicky is possibly the most delightful part of this fun story. He’s Carlyon’s younger brother, sent down from school, and staying with Elinor in the decrepit house she is to inherit.

As the pockets of both gamesters were, in Nicky’s phrase, wholly to let, they played for fabulous but imaginary stakes, with the result that when the tea-tray was brought in, Elinor found herself several thousand pounds to the good.

Because this is not just a romance, it’s also a mystery: who are the strangers attempting to break into the house? What are they searching for? Who does have the papers stolen from the Army?

It’s a fun romp, and I very much enjoyed it, especially the twists and turns of the mystery.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Romance     Comments (0)    



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