When Kittn told me that Carolyn over at Book Chick City is doing a romance book challenge, I became very excited. Since I turned 14, historical romances became a very big part of my “To Be Read”pile. I have my mother to thank for that. No, she isn’t really much of the romantic, but she decided that no teenage girl is complete without her Mr. Darcy complex. Jane Austen’s stories were my first regency romance reads, but when I finished my mother unearthed her well read copies of Georgette Heyer’s works, and well, I was a goner.
I’m dedicating this review to anyone who has never picked up a historical romance, either because they haven’t realized these books exist (what rock have you been living under?) or because they just prefer their stories with blood guts an gore and feel that historical romances lack humor, and usually involve a damsel in distress who just can’t fight her own battles. Well my dears, you have never met Sophy Stanton-Lacy, Swinka, this one is for you.
Our story begins in nineteenth century London, it is 1816, the peninsular wars are finally over. Lady Ombersley, receives an unexpected visitor, her brother Horace Stanton-Lacy, a diplomat who can’t seem to control his tongue. He needs his sister to chaperone his only daughter Sophy while he is away on a diplomatic mission in Brazil. She agrees, expecting a quiet house guest who might be a suitable companion for her own daughter Cecilia.
When Sophy finally arrives, she is nothing like what Lady Ombersley imagined. Dressed in the latest styles from Paris, rides a horse no lady would ride, speaks her mind, in short, not at all London debutante material. Growing up in diplomatic circles, sometimes being in the center of military campaigns, Sophy is not a simpering miss. When there is a problem – she doesn’t sit back and let someone else find a solution, she will find one herself no matter the cost.
Joining the Rivenhall household she immediately detects that all is not well. Lord Ombersley is rarely at home (preferring his club and a nice game of cards…), Cecilia Rivenhall is in love, but with someone her family finds unsuitable, especially because a very suitable parti has shown interest, Hubert Rivenhall seems constantly worried, Lady Ombersley is anxious about giving up the reigns to Charles’s new wife and Charles Rivenhall, the son and heir, and controller of the family purse strings in engaged to one of the most tiresome women in England.
So, Sophy decides she must make things right, even if it does mean turning the Rivenhalls life upside down in the process. And boy, is it fun to see her at work! In Sophy Georgette Heyer has created the most enjoyable heroine I have ever read. She’s intelligent, funny, and kind without being overbearing. This story is perfection in every way. I have read this book so many times but I still laugh at all the quips and clever one liners.
Ms. Heyer is brilliant at bringing the regency period to life, her descriptions and the wonderful language used in the novels, show that she researched the period before writing about it. In fact, you might want to have a Georgette Heyer glossary handy.
This book is just one of her wonderful regency romances, and I number it among my top 10 favorite Heyer novels. I won’t tell you anything about the romance side…that would just ruin the whole thing, and why would I do that? I will just add that Sophy manages to solve her own problems in the process of solving the Rivenhall difficulties.
If you have never read a historical romance, please, put this one on your list – it really is a wonderful work of fiction.
When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Sophy discovers that her aunt’s family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: Ceclia is in love with a poet, Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee, her uncle is of no use at all, and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom.