Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Lord Alverstoke is a stylish and wealthy bachelor – bored with his sisters, their families and their perpetual ploys to get him to fund their already lavish lifestyles.  Cynical to the core, he is skeptical when he meets Frederica, the charming head of the orphaned Merrivale clan. Frederica has brought her family to London to ask the assistance of relatives of her late father in launching her beautiful sister, Charis, into society with the hopes of finding her a husband.  The right match will make all the difference in the family fortunes, and save Frederica and her family from genteel poverty.  Needless to say Alverstoke’s sisters are less than pleased with the appearance of their distant relatives and are proprietary about not only Alverstoke’s time and attention which is newly directed at the young family, but also of his money.
This is by far my favorite of Georgette Heyer novels.  While so many of them have been enjoyable to me, here she strikes just the right balance with her charming and engaging plot and characters.  I love Alverstoke’s dry wit and interaction with his family, and it was fun to see him question the way he has been living his life as he becomes more involved in the always interesting antics of the Merrivales.  I have to say that I shared his impatience with Charis- beautiful and well-mannered though she might be, the girl was a bit of a dim bulb. Frederica and Alverstoke are wonderful together and I love that she is such a determined, smart  and capable heroine.
One of the things that I have really come to appreciate about Heyer is her fabulous detail to the period – the food, clothing, furnishings and language.  She doesn’t fail here, and brings the same wonderful sense of time and place that has been present in her other novels.  The characters are vibrant and I enjoyed the pacing and the way that Alverstoke and Frederic gradually came to now each other better and managed their feelings for one another.   A vibrant cast of characters kept me wondering what they next antics would be as Frederica’s brother Jessamy and Felix are fully developed, mischievous and constantly getting into things that Frederica and  then, of course, Lord Alverstoke would have to get them out of.  I rationed the chapters so that I could savor this lovely romance.

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