Who is Frederica? That's what the Marquis of Alverstoke wonders when a lovely, self-possessed young lady calls upon him to urge his aid in launching her beautiful younger sister, Charis, into London society and become the guardian of her troublesom schoolboy brothers.
Frederica Merrivale travels to London with her beautiful younger sister Charis, her three younger brothers Harry, Jessamy and Felix, their way too overgrown and exuberant puppy Lufra, and their man-hating Aunt Scrabster. The Merrivale's parents are dead, and although Harry is the heir of... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Frederica Merrivale travels to London with her beautiful younger sister Charis, her three younger brothers Harry, Jessamy and Felix, their way too overgrown and exuberant puppy Lufra, and their man-hating Aunt Scrabster. The Merrivale's parents are dead, and although Harry is the heir of Graynard, the Merrivale property, Frederica is the eldest sibling and the one who has assumed responsibility for running the estate and raising the family. At 24, she is bright, witty, and very attractive, although her loveliness pales beside Charis' angelic beauty. Their mother settled 5,000 pounds on each daughter for a dowry, and Frederica wants to give Charis a season in London to meet and mingle with the ton. She knows that her sister is so beautiful and unaffected that she is sure to make an outstanding match.
Frederica asks a very distant and unknown cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke, to sponsor her sister's "coming-out" into society. Alverstoke is handsome, rich and spoiled. He has had many lovers, but has never had a close emotional relationship with a woman, including his sisters who constantly plague him with requests for money and favors. These women, wealthy in their own right, are unbearably overbearing and provide much comic relief. At first Alverstoke is flabbergasted by Frederica's request, and believes that she is just another female who wants something from him. Slowly and against his will, Alverstoke is charmed by the Merrivale family, and amazed at Frederica's total lack of selfishness and her efforts to raise her younger siblings. He finds a way to sponsor both Frederica and Charis and to give his sisters a "set down" at the same time.
Both young women are besieged by suitors after they are presented to London society. Alverstoke spends more time with all of them, especially with Frederica, as she struggles to manage the boys, her sister, her own love life, the estate in the country, and the family's future. Ms. Heyer uses her delightful humor often, especially in the dialogue between Frederica and Alverstoke, and in the scenes involving the younger brothers and their dog. All the characters are very well developed and they demonstrate growth and change throughout the novel. The Merrivale family members are quite endearing. Some exciting adventures accompany this delightful love story, set in Regency England.
“I have cut my eye-teeth, you know, and I’m not wholly paper-skulled!”
“It was nothing – just fun and gig! But the Bag-wig was feeling out of curl, and he chose to cut up stiff.”
“She don’t come the ugly with the girls, and they must have somebody to play gooseberry, I suppose.”
“It would certainly make her start to cry again, and lachrymose females ranked high on the list of his pet abominations.”
“It has always seemed to me that if one falls in love with any gentleman one becomes instantly blind to his faults. But I am not blind to your faults, and I do not think that everything you do or say is right! Only—Is it being—not very comfortable—and cross—and not quite happy, when you aren’t there?”Frederica
“And don’t you say that it is very kind and obliging of him, sir, like Jessamy, because if you don’t like a person, you don’t wish to be obliged to him!”Felix
“It’s obligatory, you know. One is expected to—er—cuddle the lady one is going to marry.”Marquis of Alverstoke
It has always seemed to me that if one falls in love with any gentleman one becomes instantly blind to his faults. But I am not blind to your faults, and I do not think that everything you do or say is right! Only – Is it being – not very comfortable – and cross – and not quite happy, when you aren’t there?’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
if you don’t care for anybody or anything you can’t be cast into dejection, or become sick with apprehension, or even get into high fidgets. On the other hand, I shouldn’t think you could ever be aux anges either.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
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