False Colours

[openbook booknumber=”1402210752″]


Christopher “Kit” Fancot knows that something has gone wrong. He and his twin brother Evelyn have always known when the other was in trouble, wounded or worse and Kit has a very strong feeling that something has happened to Evelyn. Kit lives abroad where he works for a diplomat but he comes home to England and arrives unannounced in the dead of night. It’s to find his mother in a desperate situation. His mother is in a huge amount of debt and his twin brother Evelyn has gone missing. Evelyn needs to be able to meet with his fiance Cressida Stavely’s family or risk having an elderly matron frown on the marriage of convenience (he wants to wind up his Trust, she wants to be free of her father and his new wife) and call the whole thing off. If Kit’s twin doesn’t marry, the family fortune won’t be made available to him, and their mother’s fantastic debts will lead to trouble for all involved.

That’s when his mother hits upon an idea he wishes she hadn’t. No one knows Kit is in town, so Kit can pose as Evelyn! For just one evening, she promises. In true Georgette Heyer style the crazy idea spawns yet more crazy and untenable circumstances that have Kit living in Evelyn’s shoes for far longer than he wishes to and results in him feeling more for his twin bother’s fiance than he really should. She, on the other hand, may not be so oblivious to the masquerade as Kit might think.

You absurd boy! Oh, Evelyn, I’m so thankful you’ve come, but what in the world has detained you? I’ve been sick with apprehension!”
       There was a quizzical gleam in the gentleman’s eyes, but he said in accents of deep reproach: “Come, come, Mama – !”
       “It may be very well for you to say Come, come, Mama,” she retorted, “but when you faithfully promised to return not a day later than -” She broke off, staring down at him in sudden doubt.
       Abandoning the portmanteau, the gentleman shrugged the greatcoat from his shoulder, pulled off his hat, and mounted the remaining stairs two at a time, saying still more reproachfully: “No, really, Mama! How can you be so unnatural a parent?”
       “Kit!” uttered his unnatural parent, in a smothered shriek. “Oh, my darling, my dearest son!”

I loved reading about this tangle of a situation that was created by Evelyn’s disappearance. The trouble Kit has assuming his new brother’s role in life puts all of his combined acting talent and diplomacy to the ultimate test. Plus there was always the threat of discovery, and of course the realization that Cressy Stavely might know more than she lets on as the novel progresses.

The true representation of the period, the way that the characters thought, spoke and acted within the confines of their social standing and situations was delightful to read, and I love how the characters were drawn and portrayed throughout. Kit’s mother was hilarious to read about as she thoughtlessly blew through her money, and Kit often had a sense of humor that made his uncomfortable situation at times very amusing.

Heyer’s droll humor and her appreciation for the ridiculous truly come to play in this novel and if you are looking for a fun read true to the regency period than this novel will have you laughing your socks off. The next best thing to reading Jane Austen, indeed!

The only reason this novel lost a star is because, as hard as she tried to paint it realistically, I could not get over how Evelyn’s disappearance was treated. By the end you understood that he was regarded as every inch his mother’s son and just as careless and dim witted, but I can’t help but think something more should have been done earlier to try and find him. Though I understand that the social scandal of discovering that Evelyn was really Kit kept them from searching as much as they might have otherwise liked to.

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