Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hand of a Master, Even If the Medium Is Different

Well I finished my books on reserve... and found myself, perhaps due to neglect, with a zero-length backlog.  So I was free to pick up whatever I fancied, as long as I could get my hands on it.  That of course, limited me to Georgette Heyer and a few other choice favorites I have in my possession.  I did, indeed, choose a GH, but the question is, which one? The only one I've read at all recently is Venetia (and I'm not sure how recently that was, since I don't think I reviewed it on the blog) so I had many old favorites I could turn to... then there were those that I like, but that I didn't buy on the first round since they aren't *that* good... and then there's The Quiet Gentleman, which I picked up last summer from the Border's going-out-of-business sale (see if you can find the other book I picked up reviewed here :)) simply because they had it.  This is one I've read once (back when I first read them all and got out the last 10 or so from Pratt library) and I don't think since then.  It's more a mystery than a romance, like Regency Buck, but only the mystery parts.  But Gital (Dov's cousin - is this the first time I'm mentioning Dov? maybe :) - nope, just checked, two other times - I guess he does figure quite largely in my reading life :)))  mentioned that she liked it (she got into GH a few years ago and has been reading them slowly, I gather) and that was somewhat of a recommendation.  Plus Jennifer Kloester's Regency World kept mentioning Gervase Frant of all heroes.  So I was ready to give it another go.

It is indeed, more a mystery than a romance - and mystery is not GH's strong suit (not that it would matter much if it was, since I don't go in much for mysteries no matter how good they are).  But in any case, I've never read any of her actual mystery, but her other romance + mystery is really Regency Buck (though that one is more of a romance / tour of Regency society than a mystery) and I found them quite similar - mostly in the dispositions of the villains, who were both refined, almost smarmy, and overtly concerned for the interests of their victims.  But if the meat of the book was the mysterious accidents that befall Gervase and the fallout from his return to the family seat, there was plenty of distraction in light flirtations, balls, and pleasant conversation.  So don't get me wrong - this book was not hard to read.

In fact, I'd say TQG made me appreciate GH all the more.  Even in a book with little romance, and between a couple I couldn't really get behind for much of the book (I appreciated Drusilla's practicality from the beginning but Gervase did not seem to be "one of the downy ones" until much later and it was hard to see his coolness at first), it was just so much fun to read.  The usual stock characters, the practical heroine, and everything moving along so delightfully.  I'm not saying this book was a favorite, or even that I'm surprised I haven't read it in years, but I'm not sorry I own it, and I'm sure it'll make its way back into this blog (if it's still around :)) a few years from now.

Verdict: 4/5

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