The Corinthian

[openbook booknumber=”0099468085″]


Take the naivety and ignorance of Horatia (from The Convenient Marriage) mix in the spirit and independence of Frederica (from Frederica) and you have Penelope Creed a young woman who is set to have an adventure unlike any other Georgette Heyer novel yet!

Sir Richard sighed. “Rid yourself of the notion that I cherish any villainous designs upon you person,” he said. “I imagine I might well be your father. How old are you?”
       “I am turned seventeen.”
       “Well, I am nearly thirty,” said Sir Richard.
       Miss Creed worked this out. “You couldn’t possibly be my father!”
       “I am far too drunk to solve arithmetical problems. Let is suffice that I have not the slightest intention of making love to you.”

Penelope is being forced into marriage with a cousin that she finds absolutely repulsive. Her cousin’s family is in desperate financial straights and they need her money as much as she needs to “marry for the sake of the family”, or so they tell her. So to escape this fate she decides she is going to dress up as a boy and run away to her childhood home, and childhood sweetheart, whom she swore a blood oath that they would one day marry when they were small children. On the way out the window dressed in boys clothes she meets Sir Richard Wyndham who is, as he puts it, “viley” drunk and he decides to help her run away as he has some running away from an unwanted marriage that he wants to do himself. Throw in some stolen jewelery, highway robbery and a bit of a mysterious who-dun-it and you have a lovely romantic comedy action adventure of a novel.

To explain the plot of this twisty novel would be almost impossible. There are several interweaving stories, plot lines and characters that result in several hilarious moments for Pen and Sir Richard as she drags him deeper down the rabbit hole and farther into the English countryside. Stolen jewels, a murder investigation, highway robbery, intrigue, a pursuing aunt, an eloping couple and Pen’s secret identity all result in more tangles and trouble for poor Sir Richard who somehow has to make it out of this with his dignity and reputation in tact! It’s no wonder the poor man falls in love.

I have to say, as naive as Penelope is, her wit, sparkle, nerve and sense of adventure make her a very lovable heroine and, unlike with Horatia, I can totally see what Sir Richard sees in her. I have to admit this book really skirted the edge of what was considered proper at the time and the shocking ending was laugh out loud funny and an excellent way to bring a close to a gender adventerous book!

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