The Convenient Marriage

[openbook booknumber=”1402217722″]


My second Georgette Heyer book, The Convenient Marriage proved to be just as highly readable and endearing as the first (the novel Frederica). While having some drawbacks that Frederica lacked, The Convenient Marriage was a page turner that kept me up late and I finished it within a day of purchasing it.

Horatia Winwood is the youngest of three sisters, and when the Earl of Rule offers for her eldest sister the whole family is upset. The eldest daughter is in love with another, the middle daughter refuses to marry anyone and with an elder brother that loves to gamble has the family in desperate financial straights and so the daughters can’t afford to refuse the match. Horatia steps up and throws herself at the Earl and demands that if he wants so much to marry a Winwood that he should marry her instead. So he does. What follows is a story of at times hilarious and at times exasperating hi-jinks with the seventeen year old taking Society by storm and going from one scrape to the next. When an enemy of the Earl steps up and attempts to stir the pot and ruin his new young bride in the eyes of Society things take a dangerous turn and sword fights, high way robbery and a great deal of intrigue ensues.

Horatia said eagerly: “Oh, you will take m-me instead?”
       “No,” said Rule, with a faint smile. “I won’t do that. But I will engage not to marry your sister. It’s not necessary to offer me an exchange, my poor child.”
       “B-but it is!” said Horatia vigorously. “One of us m-must marry you!”

While being just as well researched, well written and interesting in its own way as Frederica, the book The Convenient Marriage had a heroine that I did not like nearly as well this time. Where Frederica was intelligent, witty, independent and mature Horatia was stubborn, obstinate, mulish and very naive. I had a hard time learning to like the character and only started to enjoy her towards the end as she started to finally realize the horrible mess she was making of things. I honestly could not see what the Earl got out of the match at all, unless it was simply that he wanted a child-woman for a bride that he would look after, mess with, and run circles around all the time.

That being said, the novel was absolutely hilarious. The situations were amusing and comically well written, the dialogue was witty in sometimes sly and sometimes exasperating ways, and Horatia’s family (not to mention Horatia herself) provided excellent comic relief to some at times very tense situations. I also loved the depictions of the Macaronis, just picturing the clothes, powdered wigs, make-up and mincing stride (not to mention the girly attitude) of these 18th century metrosexuals often got a chuckle out of me throughout the book.

Even though the heroine was at times very frustrating to read about, the plot kept me engaged to the last page turn with all of the sword fights, the various back stabbing characters, and the intrigue of London’s Ton. Though by the end it was pretty easy to guess how it all was going to end, and I just found it (yet again) frustrating that the characters didn’t even guess what was about to happen next, it was that obvious. So, though well written and engaging, it had to lose a star for a frustrating heroine that took away a lot more than she added to the book. I just wish she had been written in a slightly different way, though I guess for her to grow and change as much as I wanted her to, there would have had to have been a much longer book!

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