Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Georgette Heyer: April Lady

Like A Civil Contract, April Lady revolves around a marriage of convenience. But, while the hero and heroine of A Civil Contract resolve to live in a mutual admiration and respect, the already married hero and heroine of our tale are madly in love with each other.

Viscount Giles Cardross has been in love with Nell ( his now wife) since he first set eyes on her. Made to think that it was a marriage of convenience by her mother, Nell is coached to hide her overflowing affection for her husband lest he find her too clingy.

Somewhat contented to be the tropy-wife, all the while assured that her beloved Giles may, at one point, turn to other female companionship, Nell spends her days with Giles’ half-sister Letty, buys extravagant dresses, rides a marvelous carriage ‘round the fashionable park and wiles her nights away at the most extravagant events of the season.

Giles loves Nell; Nell loves Giles, half-sister Letty loves the poor army- secretary, Jeremy Allandale and Jeremy Allandale loves Letty.

The entire plot is a mixed array of crossed paths, misunderstandings and love very passionate and squelched unknown.

Like the adorable Kitten in Friday’s Child, Nell’s modest circumstances in her youth have made her a poor fit for the excessive ton. Indeed, she is more often than not in scrapes involving over-expenditures she is sure will awake her husband’s wrath.

Desperate to conceal her folly and deeply ashamed at her innocence, Nell and Giles spend most of the book completely unaware of the other’s feelings.

The forbidden, cross-class romance of Letty and Jeremy Allandale complements the frustrating maze of Nell and Giles’ hidden emotions.

You know when you open a Georgette Heyer novel that you can bask in the certainty that all will end well. It’s like a Jane Austen novel, in that respect, it is a guaranteed certainty that all will tie with a neat little bow. But, like the most delicious romances, it is the topsy-turvey paths and cross-purposes leading you to the ultimate gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow that propel you onward.

April Lady is chock-full of frustrating “But you love Rhett, not Ashley!” moments and exceptional snapshots of the glorious ton at the height of its gilded Regency brilliance.

Another fabulous read from Georgette Heyer.

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