While bloghopping, I discovered another reading challenge that has no official start and end dates. It’s to read the works of Georgette Heyer, an English historical romance and detective fiction novelist.
I am jumping into this wagon on top of my three other challenges for 2009 particularly because it’s not time-bound. It will also make me, finally, read a few Heyer novels in my shelf. They all came from a box my father sent me when I was in my freshman year in college.
I have a few of her historical romance novels, nine to be exact, including her first published work, The Black Moth. I saw reprints of most of her works in Fully Booked so I have a local source in case I want the others. It should be great to throw in a few doses of romance books in my 2009 reading list to loosen it up a little. I feel I will really need that kind of breather or filler especially during moments when I’d want to read solely to brush off work demons or others of its kind away.
Anyway, here are the titles and respective plot summaries of the Georgette Heyer books I have in my shelf. See, they’re “forgotten” enough that they’re on top of a tall shelf, making them impossible to reach unless you use a ladder.
1. April Lady – Nell Cardross, the young, beautiful wife of the Earl of Cardross, is of a “good family”, one that is accepted by high society, but nonetheless her father and brother spend freely and the family is known to be impoverished. Cardross, on the other hand, is significantly older and has been out in society for some time; rich and handsome, he could have his pick of the season’s débutantes. He falls for Nell on sight, and in spite of the warnings of his friends who are concerned about the gambling habits of her family, he proposes to her at once. Nell’s mother has “more hair than wit”: she tells Nell that Cardross wants an heir and wishes to marry into a good family, and that Nell must be a conformable wife and not trouble Cardross. Consequently Nell, who fell for her husband in the same instant he fell for her, keeps him at arm’s length until he starts to doubt her appeal. The couple dance at this misunderstanding for many months, ably assisted by Cardross’ sister, her fiancé Jeremy, Nell’s brother Dysart, and Cardross’ cousin Felix.
2. Cotillion – No sooner does Kitty arrive in London than she becomes embroiled in the romantic difficulties of several new acquaintances. Kitty’s French cousin, Camille, a professional gambler, has won the heart of her new friend, Olivia–who also happens to be the object of Jack Westruther’s dishonorable intentions. Meanwhile, Kitty’s doltish cousin Lord Dolphinton has fallen in love with a merchant’s daughter who’s embattled with his mother and needs his help. Finally, there is Kitty herself, who begins to wonder if the dandified Freddy might not be the man for her after all.
3. Faro’s Daughter – The beautiful but poor Deborah Grantham presides over her aunt’s gaming house in Regency London. Here she meets Max Ravenscar who is determined to prevent his young cousin and ward from contracting an inappropriate marriage to Grantham. Incensed by the idea that she would exploit an innocent, Deborah decides to take her revenge on Ranvenscar which eventually leads to the pair falling in love.
4. Friday’s Child – When the incomparable Miss Isabella Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington’s marriage proposal (she laughs at him-laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.
5. Sprig Muslin – Sir Gareth is a noted Corinthian and has been a confirmed bachelor ever since his betrothed died prematurely, seven years ago. He decides for practical reasons to marry an old friend, Hester, who is unfashionable and plain, not to mention “on the shelf” at the age of 29. However, he soon meets a young, run-away girl and determines to resolve her problems satisfactorily. Unfortunately, this particular runaway is possessed of an extremely lively imagination, and gets them both into a little more trouble than he had bargained for.
6. Sylvester, Or The Wicked Uncle – Intelligent and desperate Phoebe runs away from a man whom her parents wish her to marry. She is assisted in escaping by none other than the man himself, the Duke of Salford, about whom she has written a novel starring him as the villain.
7. The Black Moth – Disguised as a highwayman, Jack Carstares, the wrongly disgraced Earl of Wyncham, found himself again face-to-face with the wicked Duke of Andover. This time the Black Moth was attempting to abduct dark-haired beauty Diana Beauleigh. Once more Jack’s noble impulse to save the day landed him in trouble, but not before sending the villainous duke scurrying. Diana took her gallant rescuer in and nursed his wounds, and soon truer emotions grew between them. But Jack couldn’t stay, for a lady and an outlaw would make a scandalous pair. Torn between his tarnished past and the hope for Diana’s hand, Jack had one dangerous chance to reclaim his honor— by defeating the Black Moth for good.
8. The Talisman Ring – On his deathbed, Baron Lavenham arranges a marriage between his great-nephew, Sir Tristram Shield, and his young French granddaughter, Eustacie de Vauban. His grandson and heir, Ludovic, is on the run on the Continent, after allegedly murdering a man in a dispute over a valuable heirloom, the talisman ring. The romantic Eustacie, appalled by her betrothed’s phlegmatic character, runs away and soon encounters a smuggler, who turns out to be her cousin Ludovic. The two take refuge at a local inn, after Ludovic is injured escaping from Excisemen. There they encounter an older lady, Miss Sarah Thane, who vows to help them. They all then workied in proving Ludovic’s innocence by finding the missing ring and unmasking the real murderer.
9. Venetia – Venetia Lanyon grew up in the country, away from the world with only her younger brother Aubrey, bookish and lamed, for company. Her peace and quiet is one day disturbed by the rakish Lord Damerel. She at first sensibly keeps away from him for his very discourteous treatment of her, but when Lord Damerel finds an injured Aubrey and not only takes him into his home to recover but treats him with great kindness, she revises her first opinion of him and they soon become the best of friends. When Venetia and Lord Damerel fall in love, however, Damerel is convinced that marriage with him would cause Venetia’s social ruin.
Nothing like an organized book list to make my reading schedule run smoothly next year. I love goals, too. With these and more things in store I do not know yet, let me stand up and scratch the remnants of my quarter-life crisis away. =)