My enjoyment rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Book source: Library copy
Book Challenge: What's in a Name (EVIL in title)
The Marquis of Vidal is a brute, spoiled, selfish, boorish, and has anger management issues. Not the kind of guy any decent young lady would want to associate with. However, because he is a “marquis” all of the available society girls are lined up to win him over. All but one, that is. Mary Challoner doesn’t want anything to do with him, and is trying to save her younger sister from any association with Marquis to keep her honor intact. Mary goes to such extremes that she dons a disguise to keep the Marquis far, far away. Thus begins a comic traipse across England and France that includes the Marquis’s parents, cousins, and a cast of servants that concludes with the Marquis’ marriage – but to whom?
This was my first Georgette Heyer (pronounced HAY-er) regency romance. Needless to say, I was expecting more.
The first third of the book was a jumble of counts, dukes, and relatives that I had a difficult time keeping them all sorted out. Granted, this was the sequel to “These Old Shades,” so I suppose if I’d read the first one, I would have had an easier time with the characters. But I was confused from the beginning.
The Marquis (sometimes Dominic, sometimes Dominique?) was a jerk and had no redeeming value. He wasn’t’ even handsome! (Because, at the very least, if you are a looser, you might as well be cute.)
Mary was ridiculous! I suppose the reader should consider her admirable for trying to save her sister, and in reality, once the wheels of her future were in motion, she could do very little to help herself. But in the end, I could not for the life of me figure out WHY she would have anything to do with him!
The author had a huge issue with the word “devil.” She used it on nearly every page to describe the Marquis. Seriously, after the first dozen uses, I got it already. Another overused word – plaguey. And I’m not even sure what that means. But Heyer liked it a lot.
The final third of the book redeemed itself. Once the Duke of Avon (the Marquis’ father) arrives and meets Mary, it was quite witty. Otherwise, I didn’t get the romance or the repartee.
One thing I did appreciate was Heyer’s immense detail in the clothing and dress of the time period. It was amazingly luxurious!
I have a stack of Heyer books on my book shelf, so I’m still willing to give her another try. But this was a bit silly.