Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not Looking For High Drama

Finished this Sunday... too lazy to post till now... feeling tired these days... anyway... after my previous foray into long-neglected GHs, (see review of The Quiet Gentleman) I was eager to venture yet again into the land of almost-forgotten novels by the great authoress.  I selected The Masqueraders, which I think I bought in an airport in Europe at some point because it was the only Heyer there... or actually, maybe I bought it last summer along with TQG... yup, I'm pretty sure it was then (Simon the Coldheart was purchased at the Glasgow airport I think).  And since I bought it last summer, I haven't read it - not surprising, since I hadn't read it for quite a few years before and I haven't read most of the Heyers I've bought, sad to say.  I have read it more than once, which puts it ahead of TQG. (continuing from Thurs...) Now TQG never got reread because, as I said in that review, it's almost more of a mystery than a romance.  The Masqueraders is more typical Heyer, but not typical Regency Heyer - it's one of her Georgians.  Those are written quite differently - more dramatically, with less of a light touch and more of an intense tone.  With that, there's no real reason why they  can't be just as romantic... These Old Shades, The Convenient Marriage, even Devil's Cub are also decently, or more than decently in DC's case, so.  But The Masqueraders...

Well I don't know how much I noticed it before - I think not as much previously as this go-around - but The Masqueraders loses a lot to drama.  In fact, it's not really a chic lit romance at all - I don't even really think it's meant to be.  There are two couples, one the usual boring one and then the central couple.  But the central couple aren't together not because of angsty misunderstandings or spark-filled clashes, but because circumstances (the woman masquerading as a man) make it impractical.  So there's not much fun in waiting for them to get together.  The fun is more in the drama and the action of the story, a fairly entertaining tale of a con artist's greatest effort - all taking place in the elegant halls of Georgian London high society.  And you know, it is pretty fun in both those senses (con artistry and high society).

But I don't know why, the high-flown language just bothered me more than usual.  I know GH essentially made up Regency cant as we know it today, but now it just seems authentic to me (and it bothers me when other authors get it wrong :)) But here... maybe I'm just less used to it or maybe it really is more fabricated, but the "child" (to address an adult), the "it" (in place of he)... and then there was the rather too much "show don't tell" magnificence of the con artist in question, Lord Barham.  Sad to see GH guilty of such a thing.  And I can't say she's *very* guilty of it.  He mostly is pretty magnificent.  But the drama just wasn't *quite* all it was meant to be.  I hate to criticize a Heyer but... there it is.  I can't say I didn't enjoy this book, I did, but it irked me at the same time - maybe just because it wasn't as good as I remembered.  I still think she's great, and I'm sure I'll go back to this one some time... but just be warned, this is not quite the Heyer we love.

Verdict: 3.8/5

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