If, like myself, you’ve never read a Georgette Heyer novel, this novel is a good place on which to start. Her writing is so much fun. It’s pure entertainment. She takes some of the best aspects of 18th Century literature, writing in the style of Henry Fielding and Frances Burney, also throwing in a bit of Jane Austen for good measure.
This is a book purely written for the enjoyment of plot…no heavy themes, just good fun amusement. I absolutely love the description of Sylvester with his Hepzibah scowl—that villainous look mixed with a heart of pure gold. It’s wonderful! But the one character who steals the show is his six-year old nephew, Edmund. Going by looks, Edmund appears to be an angel with his blond curly hair and blue eyes. Yet underneath that angelic exterior is a mischievous little imp: “When Uncle Vester knows what you did to me he will punish you in a terrible way! said Edmund ghoulishly. […] Uncle Vester will grind your bones! […] To make him bread.” ;-) But my favorite little scene is when a French lady enamored by Edmund’s beauty goes up to him “planting a smacking kiss on his cheek. “Petit chou!” she said, beaming at him. ‘Salaude!’ returned Edmund indignantly.” Oh boy! ;) When Edmund’s politely told that his little comment wasn’t a very civil thing to say, he states in a satisfied tone, “I didn’t think it was.” :-)
Yes, the heroine, Phoebe Marlow is a bit silly and impetuous, but the book’s so devilishly good you can easily forgive her. I had so much fun reading this, and definitely expect to read more of books in the near future.