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Monday, October 01, 2007

Charity Girl


**** Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. Historical romance.








This is my fourth Heyer. I liked it better than Beauvallet, about the same as Cousin Kate and not quite as well as Sylvester (#13). Although now that I look back at what I wrote about Sylvester, I'm not sure I'm really feeling the Heyer-love. In general, they've been nice, pleasant stories, but I'm not overwhelmed by their wonderfulness. Could be the older style, could be I'm not reading them in the context of when they were written (1970 for this one--I was 9. I'd probably have loved it then, if I'd been allowed to read it.), or could be I just haven't read the best ones.

Viscount Desford's family had intended a match between him and Henrietta Silverdale, but having grown up together, they're instead best friends. And now she has (the very bland) Cary Nethercott as a suitor (who's definitely not good enough for her).

So when Desford rescues Cherry Steane, who's run away from her aunt's cold charity (read: servitude), only to discover that the grandfather to whom she was running is out of town, who better to care for the girl than Hetta?

It's a bit of a comedy of errors with Desford running all over the country chasing after Cherry's grandfather, and friends and family alike assigning him motives for doing so. And there's an interesting and potentially dangerous twist, too.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this. Perhaps it's obvious to everyone else, but until nearly the very end, I didn't know that the romantic hero & heroine were Desford and Henrietta. Because so much of the story was about Cherry, I thought she must be the heroine, and it just didn't fit. So I spent most of the book slightly confused and wondering what Desford saw in Cherry besides her youth and prettiness.

On the other hand, I liked that it confounded my expectations--yes, I know I'm contrary--I've been told that before. No doubt on a re-read, I'd pick up more on the signs between Desford and Hetta.

I did enjoy all the characters, but it left me feeling a little spoiled or jaded maybe, that I had trouble fully enjoying a story without knowing where it was going. Something to think about.

...more

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Comments:
We are three romance fiction readers who are interested in finding out more about readers like ourselves. What began as a conversation over coffee has turned into a project that has taken on a life of its own. We’ve explored public librarians’ attitudes toward romance fiction and its readers on both state and national levels with research funded by a grant from Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/academic_research_grant/past_recipients).

Of course, the more we’ve found out, the more questions we have. We’ve reached the point where we need answers to several of these questions from romance readers. We are interested in romance fiction readers as both consumers and conservators of the genre. From what we’ve found, romance fiction readers do not depend on public libraries for their books. We would like to better understand where romance fiction readers acquire their books, why they prefer particular sources, and what they do with their books after reading them. We appreciate your time and consideration.

Our questions:
• What are your preferred sources for the romance fiction you read?
• Why do you choose these sources rather than or in addition to public libraries?
• Do you keep all or some of the books you read? How do you decide which books to keep?
• What do you see yourself doing with your personal library of romance fiction books in the future?


Informed Consent:
The University of Missouri requires that research involving human subjects include an informed consent to ensure that participants’ rights are protected. As is customary, pseudonyms will be substituted in all data for all names of persons, public libraries/public library systems, cities, towns and counties. Every effort will be made to adequately disguise the participants’ identities and specific geographic location in any published materials or presentations. The print-outs of any responses will remain in the direct physical possession of the researchers. Relevant portions of the transcripts will be deleted upon request of any participant who decides to withdraw from the study.

Participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time, no questions asked.

Refusal to participate, or withdrawal from the research project, will have no impact on the participant.

Do not hesitate to call, write or e-mail a member of the research team if you have questions or concerns about this research study.

We ask that you give permission for the results of this research to be used in professional presentations at national conferences and printed in professional publications. If you have questions your rights as a research subject, you may contact the University of Missouri Institutional Review Board Office at (573)882-9585 .

Denice Adkins adkinsde@missouri.edu
Linda Esser esserl@missouri.edu
Diane Velasquez dvelasquez@dom.edu
303 Townsend Hall
School of Information Science & Learning Technologies
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211
 
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