Old Eustace Cheviot may have been a scoundrel and a drunkard, but he was Elinor Rochdale's only hope. The destitute widow was drawn into the marriage ...Show synopsisOld Eustace Cheviot may have been a scoundrel and a drunkard, but he was Elinor Rochdale's only hope. The destitute widow was drawn into the marriage scheme by Cheviot's own cousin, dashing Lord Carlyon. Casting her pride aside, she married the ailing Cheviot and soon became the sole heiress of Highnoons.Hide synopsis
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I read my first copy to shreds!
Only Heyer manages to write historical, witty, charming and graceful novels.
For me, Heyers novels are therapy! One can escape in a world where people are polite, ladies give "set downs" to those who dare to misbehave, and all is very well at the end.
I often read the masterfully written dialogues aloud, it gives a whole new dimension to the subtle wit of Heyer's books!
Elinor Cheviot has always been one of my favorite Heyer characters, partly because I can see myself acting the same way she does if I were ever in her situation. College boy Nicky's antics and attitude are so well written, too, and of course his big brother Ned is the perfect foil to both of them, his sense of humor keeping him from being stolid. Elinor, getting into a carriage she supposed was sent for her at the stagecoach stop, finds herself in a decaying manor with a dying drunkard and his cousin insisting she marry the man and inherit the manor. She reluctantly agrees, is duly widowed a few hours later, and finds herself dealing with a great deal more than unwanted funeral guests when a French agent gets into the house!
This is a very entertaining story with some very humorous touches. Elinor gets into the wrong carriage in reporting to a new post as governess and instead is coerced to marry a dying man to "oblige" his cousin, Lord Carlyon, who wishes to avoid an unwanted inheritance. There is a younger brother, Nicky, who with his dog Bouncer provides some great comedy, there are secret stairways, nighttime intruders, a foppish cousin, Francis,and espionage. It's all fun. So why does it only get three stars? Because the last chapters, tying up all the loose ends are a little tedious with a long drawn out dialogue between Lord Carlyon and another main character (I dont want to spoil the plot), and the ultimate ending is of course precictable. But this is a delightful and quick read. I MAY read another by this author later on.
Elinor Rochdale?s profligate late father lost a prosperous manor, leaving her to support herself as a governess. Travelling toward a new situation she gets into the wrong carriage, carried off to be rushed into marriage with the Dying Young Wastrel Cheviot, and so his widow. Heyer the virtuosa of plot construction makes the tortured logic vivid and clear. We get Lord Carlyon, the perennial Heyer forceful male at once outrageously single-minded and carefully attentive, cajoling and pushing the aghast Elinor along to become Mrs. Cheviot, mistress of the estate, distressed though it is. Sinister events follow: an intruder at midnight claiming to be Cheviot?s friend; espionage suspected. Heyer in form: high social comedy as she deftly weaves all to a satisfying conclusion.
The Reluctant Widow is just one of Georgette Heyer's very entertaining books. It is a comedy of misunderstandings and extreme reluctance on her part as the Widow is led from one adventure to another (all against her will), but it happens anyway and all comes out great in the end.
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