Thursday, July 31, 2014

Maybe a Little Worn, But So, So Comfy

As I mentioned previously, most of my reading over the past few months (really going back quite a while) has been Heyer, so no real pressure to review.   I finally picked up something else so it's a good time for me to do my Heyer shorties. As always, impressions aren't fresh in my mind at this point and of course it's not my first go round for any of these.  So you'll get what you get :)

Bath Tangle - I think I liked this one a little more than usual on this reread. Why? Gosh these hard questions :) The romance was good.  I think I felt like there were more moments than I had realized at previous times.  Really too bad I can't remember more at this point :)

Regency Buck - now I have a complicated relationship with this one. It was one of my first loves, and it does feature a very dashing hero and heroine. But as a more experienced Heyer reader, its status as GH's first Regency is quite clear.  There is a lot more focus on the culture and less on the couple.  And there's a mystery element that I can take or leave.  But I realized that a while ago, so that was already factored in to my enjoyment of the book. That being the case, I wouldn't say I liked it more than usual, but you, it certainly has its moments.

Sylvester - now this one I actually have something a little interesting to say :) Possibly because I remarked upon it when I actually read the book (to Dov) so I remember it now.  I've gone back and forth with Sylvester - when I first read it, I was in ecstasies about how it featured a rich duke as the hero.  But subsequent readings left me less enthusiastic, as the heroine is rather uninspiring (not to say a little annoying at times) dab of a girl and, furthermore, we sympathize first with Sylvester so that it is difficult to see Phoebe's point of view.  I think on the reading before this, I remember thinking it was a little more romantic than I had at times given it credit for - I didn't remember the details of their time in London and how it made their romance grow more naturally.  This time though, it was the end of the book that struck me.  So many Heyers have something of a wild goose chase or complicated plot at the end that (in my opinion) distracts from the main event.  This book, too, features a wild ride through France and back to England - *but* the interaction between Phoebe and Sylvester throughout is priceless.  Far from being a distraction, I found the last part of the book elevated it to a solid, satisfying romance.  (That's not to say I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I enjoy any Heyer even without the ending, I'm just saying this may now be back on my favorite GH list).

Arabella - an old favorite, and still a good one.  Is somewhat open to the criticism I mentioned above about the end of the book being distracting - it's less romantic than amusing almost.  But Mr Beaumaris (GH's answer to Brummell) is, of course, perfection.  And though others have found Arabella silly and naive, I find her sweet and poised (though admittedly lapsing into idiocy at times).  I think I did find this one *a little* less romantic than I have at other times, but maybe that's because I know the romantic moments so well? They felt like they had just a tad of "do, don't say" to them.  But still, not complaining about this, it's a thorough treat.

Frederica - also one of my faves.  Again, I know the romantic moments here almost too well to thoroughly enjoy them, but they are still unquestionably satisfying.  There is rather too much about Frederica's family in this book for my taste (always has been) but it really is a great story.  Romantic and great read, as always.

Venetia - I always like this one, but I think at some point I elevated it almost above every other GH.  This would be on the virtue of there being little else in this book beyond the love story (I mean there is Venetia's family background, but that doesn't seem like an altogether separate concern) and the supreme romance - there are A LOT of good moments in this book.  On this particular read, I found myself rather more bothered by Damerel's lack of morality than previous occasions though.  Not that he's such a bad person, but the book does rather celebrate his rakishness, and I see no reason for that.  Still, still, still, it's spoiled to complain.  These books are really the best of the best :)

And one last thing I'm tacking on to the end here.  Not a Heyer, but after I went through all these old faves, I was in the mood of another - Eva Ibbotson's The Morning Gift (which I have reviewed here previously).  An incredibly well-done romance, though there's no question that stylistically it can be irritating (many find it so irritating they never get past it, I have the ability to do so :))  Certainly enjoyed it on this reread, but again, I may know the romantic moments a *little* too well to thoroughly enjoy them.  I know exactly what's coming and so maybe have difficulty appreciating their proper significance.

Am I reading these books too often? Maybe in some cases... but nah.  Not like I didn't absolutely love each and every one of them, even if I didn't get quite, quite, quite as much as on previous reads.

Verdict: 5/5

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