Saturday, October 03, 2020

58. The Foundling by Georgette Heyer

I found the worst edition
I do follow some good people on Twitter in the book world, so good that it is one of the big reasons I haven't been able to delete my account and walk away.  Fans of the gothic and romance genre were talking up Georgette Heyer and how big a role they played in their own early reading.  Her stuff sounded right up my alley and I was pleased to find a copy for $2 at Chainon with a truly uninspired design, such that I would have no worries of my poor treatment of the book.

I am pleased to say that their recommendations were spot on.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Foundling.  It was delightful.  I found myself delighted from the first few pages and continuously delighted throughout the book.  I would have read it in two days if it wasn't for current events and my struggle with distraction. As it was I basically read it in two sittings but with days of wasting my life on Twitter and reading only a few pages at a time in between.

The story is about a young Duke who grew up quite sickly and though petite of frame is healthy and smart at the age of 24, about to come of age and claim his inheritance.  However, his controlling uncle and the retinue of staff conspire to mollycoddle him.  His own gentle and unaggressive nature only reinforces their maintaining a layer of protection between him and the world.  He yearns to live a bit in the world and his frustration with his uncle and servants reaches a peak when he is basically browbeaten to ask his old friend Harriet's hand in marriage.  They grew up together and he likes and respects her, but never really had a chance to develop any feelings.  When one of his cousins gets in a bit of a scrape with a blackmailer and asks the Duke for money, he decides to escape from his handlers and deal with the problem on his own.

There are so many things that I enjoyed in this story: the mannered interactions of the aristocracy, the talented and trained but never tested character off on his own, descriptions of Regency england at once so civilized and yet always simmering with potential villainy.  Ultimately, though, what really made this book for me was how it pleasant and un-tense it all was.  The bad guys really aren't all that bad, the scandals never really threaten to ruin anybody and the plot twists and miscommunications are fun and move the story forward without driving us mad.  Just a real tonic.  I am so happy to know that she has written some 60 books and everyone has their various favourites.  I think I will just keep an eye out for her and pick them up slowly, as I am sure used copies are easy to find.  They can be read between more stressful works. 


=Tamar said...

So glad to hear you've found Heyer! Just a note of caution: You know she wrote many, over many years. I hope you will consider the original publication date, and the context of the times, before making a final judgement on a book. She began as a very young author writing to entertain her brother and developed over the years. I would call most of them romantic comedy.

=Tamar said...

Very glad to hear of someone who has found Heyer!

OlmanFeelyus said...

Thanks for the comment and advice, Tamar. I generally try not to look at the publication date of a book until after I have read it to minimize preconceptions. It sounds like reading Heyer will be an interesting journey!