Wednesday, 14 January 2015

'Regency Buck' by Georgette Heyer (1935)

Synopsis: The recently orphaned Judith Taverner and her younger brother Peregrine have left their countryside home in Yorkshire and are travelling down to London. Peregrine isn't yet old enough to inherit and the pair of them intend to seek out their new legal guardian whom they have never met - Julian St John Audley, the Earl of Worth. Along the way the Taverners stop at a boxing match and get into an argument with an insufferably arrogant gentleman who insults them. When the Taverners arrive in London they discover that their guardian is far from being the elderly gentleman that they were expecting. The Earl is handsome and fashionable, is only a few years older than they are, and is good friends with Beau Brummell. He is also the very same man who insulted them at the boxing match. The Taverners are furious but try to make the best of the situation. Judith's beauty and wealth soon makes her a sensation in London and she receives several offers of marriage but Worth refuses all of her suitors. Judith bristles at this lack of independence and has many clashes with her guardian. However, when it looks as though someone is trying to murder Peregrine, Judith begins to see Worth in a different light.

Regency Buck seems to be one of Georgette Heyer's more polarising novels but my feelings towards it are fairly indifferent. It was a decent read for me but nothing special. I'm sure I would probably enjoyed it a lot more than I did though if it hadn't been for the main couple. Judith is independent and spirited but she's also irrational, immature and sulky. Worth is sarcastic, intelligent, dry-humoured and handsome and yet he has none of the warmth and charm of Lord Damerel or the Duke of Avon. It's so frustrating but there are still some really good things about this book. I enjoyed Peregrine and Judith's race from London to Brighton and I really liked some of the book's secondary characters. Worth's younger brother Captain Charles Audley is very likeable and I'm glad that Heyer gave him his own sequel (An Infamous Army). The book also features Beau Brummell. I believe Mr Brummell's name is mentioned in a number of Heyer books but in Regency Buck he shows up as an actual character. I loved Mr Brummell and his first meeting with Judith was my favourite scene in the book.

Regency Buck is also notable for being Georgette Heyer's first Regency novel. I already knew that fact before I read the book but even if I hadn't I think I might have been able to guess since it has a slightly different feel to all of the other Georgette Heyer novels that I've read so far. Unlike her other novels, real-life historical characters appear and there are references to Jane Austen, Ann Radcliffe, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott. Heyer's descriptions of Regency life are also more detailed than usual. Usually I love the attention to detail in Heyer's writing but in this book there was such a lavish and extensive description of the Royal Pavilion that I began to feel as though Heyer was beating me around the head with a text book. This book certainly isn't one of my favourites by Heyer but it isn't the worst Heyer novel that I've read either.

Rating: 3/5


Hayden said...

I feel the same about this one. It wasn't horrible, but it definitely was not one of my favorites by her.

Hannah said...

Exactly. It's not horrible but Heyer has written so much better. My personal favourite is Venetia but I also love These Old Shades, Cotillion & Frederica.

Lianne @ said...

Great review! I finally got around to These Old Shades and Devil's Cub recently and was surprised to learn that this book is part of that series because I read it years ago! (enjoyed it, as I recall) Maybe I'll revisit it sometime this year, lol ;)

Hannah said...

Thank you :) I'm looking forward to your reviews on those books! I have mixed feelings on them myself. I LOVE These Old Shades but I'm not that fond of Devil's Cub. It is funny in places and lots of fans love that book but I just didn't like Vidal.