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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Masqueraders

***** The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer. Historical romance.

Okay, I think I'm starting to get it. This is my 5th Heyer, and my favorite so far--the first one I've absolutely loved.

Prudence and Robin Marriot have returned to England in advance of their father, "the old gentleman." Their father is a con artist, and they're used to living a masquerade. This time, Prudence is dressed as a man, and Robin is dressed as a woman. I'm not quite clear what this is supposed to accomplish, but there's some danger relating to the Jacobite rising... Nevermind. It's not important.

Anyway, they're in disguise at their father's orders, and the plan was to lie low, but at an inn they run across Letty Grayson, and rescue her from a disastrous elopement, just in time to send her home with family friend Anthony Fanshaw, who she thinks her father wants her to marry.

Robin, as Kate, befriends Letty and eventually falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Anthony takes young Peter (Prudence) under his wing, and she falls in love with him, but she's apprehensive because he seems all too perceptive.

And they're thrust into the middle of London society, drawing far more attention than they'd intended, and Peter/Prudence is getting into scrapes that Anthony just happens to be on the spot to rescue
him/her from.

Then their father arrives and announces he's a Viscount, the lost heir to the title, and things get even more topsy-turvy.

It took me a while initially to realize what was going on--that Prudence = Peter and Robin = Kate. It's not directly stated in the beginning, and while on the one hand, I was confused when it's first revealed--Peter was attracted to Sir Anthony? I didn't realize Heyer was that controversial--on the other hand, the masquerade was delightful, and once I got my bearings, I liked the way it was revealed.

The style is different from modern novels, at least most of the ones I read, and the reader doesn't get much of the characters' internal thoughts. Still, from their actions and dialogue, it's easy to discern what they're thinking and feeling. I'm beginning to see why so many authors love Heyer's work, and that ability to show emotion rather than just telling it.

I know I have one, possibly two more Heyers in my TBR pile that a friend gave me. Once I read those, I'm going to have to start buying my own. I surrender--I'm hooked.


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I am just finishing my first Heyer, and it was totally not what I expected! I will definitely be trying to track down some more!
Look out for The Unknown Ajax, Venetia, Frederica... But there are really too many to list, and anyway, different people have different favourites.
Marg, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's just discovering Heyer. :)

Thanks for the recommendations, Laura! I've heard a lot of people recommend Frederica, but I haven't heard of the others. I'll put them on my list.
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