The Corinthian - Georgette Heyer book club #10

(44 Posts)

I read this when we were supposed to be reading TSB and I am so glad I did.

All the classic Heyer themes - whodunnit, cross-dressing, comic secondary couple, male pinnacle of fashion, and of course two people desperately in love with one another but each believing themselves to be unworthy of the other.

I find the fact that Pen has to marry Richard rather sinister. I mean, obviously at the time you simply couldn't be away with a man without marrying him, but she is independently wealthy and ought, one would have hoped, to be above gossip. And in terms of life experience she is far younger than Megan Stammers, with a very similarly aged older man. I prefer GH later on with her adult heroines (eg Abby Wendover) because this problem is less sticky, but I recognise that in women of this class* spinsterhood was a burden.

* Speaking of which, we aren't told where Pen's money comes from. Melissa Brandon talks about being Richard's social equal - lots of guff about ancient families - but he goes instead for his intellectual and financial equal. Aunt Almeria is horrifically bourgeoise.

I particularly enjoy BIL George and BIL2B Cedric. GH writes the kind and rich but thick and idle man well. Cedric is reminiscent of Pelham Winwood who also amused us although he would be infuriating in real life. Teenage cousin Frederick (with a face like a hake lol) is good value when he is hero-worshipping Richard, but he is dumped from the story rapidly.

Do we feel sorry for Melissa Brandon? we are deliberately shown that she doesn't love Richard and is only considering him for convenience. Will Saar be better off once Cedric goes to be an officer (I am sure Richard will oblige in the end) and Beverly isn't alive to spend any more money?

There are some bits I particularly wanted to quote but kindle is charging. Most of them are comic descriptions of Richard's hangover iirc...

CreamolaFoamFan Tue 20-Nov-12 20:07:01

Bit late in the day, but the Melissa Brandon/Richard thing reminded me of the Charles/Eugenia relationship in the Grand Sophy, but in this book Heyer made Melissa and most of her family so awful and snobbish and grasping and spendthrift, that I couldn't think why any of Richard's family wanted the connection. At least in the Grand Sophy, you get some reasons why Charles and Eugenia ended up together.

thewhistler Fri 16-Nov-12 15:23:19

Thanks Horatia. Hadn't spotted it had started.

How scary that I can recall this but not the shopping.

So true!

It is at 56% on the Kindle - no page numbers sorry. End of Chapter 19.

Rupert is right, you shouldn't count up two lots of money at once. Add up the English then the French, not both at the same time.

Whistler, check the FD thread. It is Kit, and although he is in love with Arabella Ravenscar (alas, no longer reciprocated) it isn't him that tries to run off with her.

thewhistler Thu 15-Nov-12 20:16:02

Leonie, about half way through. After Rupert has followed St Vire to France and got shot but before Avon arrives, just.

thewhistler Thu 15-Nov-12 20:13:49

But Rupert obviously doesn't think she's doing it right because he says something like "that's not how you do it, you silly chit".

On bus, again.

How scary that I can recall this but not the shopping.

Leonie, I so agree.

But haven't got a copy of Faro's daughter and have been going mad trying to remember the name of Deb's brother, (Kit?) And whether it was him with whom Ravenscar's sister didn't elope, iyswim, or a nasty person.

LeonieDeSainteVire Thu 15-Nov-12 13:15:45

And this is the level of detailed discussion I just love about these threads grin where else would you get that?

Where is it in the book, so I can go and add my considered opinion - see I didn't even notice it before and I (obviously) love the book!

Leonie dived after the errant guineas, retrieved them, and sat down on the bed to count them.

"One, two, four, six, and a louis -- oh, and another guinea, and three sous, and --"

So it is a mixture after all, and she's totting up each kind of money quite nicely.

(going to have to go and look now...)

Oh, maybe not. I'm remembering without my copy. Unless it's a mixture of English and French? Fairly likely given the journey!

thewhistler Wed 14-Nov-12 19:49:31

Horatia, are you sure? I expect you are right but I thought she spotted a Louis?
On bus so can't check.

And of course GH was useless with money. I can't recall if she was any good at arithmetic but she might well not have been. So ok, sort of.

I agree that the convention was set by then. Jane Eyre is 19 or 20 when she marries 40-y-o Rochester, for example.

*Mind you, we almost never see her being maladroit or silly, which is the reason the only bit that jars with me is when Rupert and she are counting money and she doesn't appear to know how. For an innkeeper's sister that is ludicrous.
*

Just had to pick up on this - she is used to French money, and she and Rupert are counting English coins. I forgive her.

thewhistler Sun 04-Nov-12 19:50:23

I also think that they were still of the generation where marriage was the only realistic option and used to Victorian attitudes where a young girl marrying an older man was often the norm.

MooncupGoddess Fri 02-Nov-12 17:28:48

Yes, go for it Leonie. Always interesting to see which books different people like and don't like!

LeonieDeSainteVire Fri 02-Nov-12 17:10:03

I've been away for a bit and came back expecting to find the next thread in full swing but it isn't as far as I can see. It is time isn't it? Shall I start one, I don't like Faro's Daughter I should warn you!

But going back to this one and the age gap thing, I think we've discussed this quite often and there seems to be a common theme that as we, the readers, get older we find the v young bride/older man motif harder to believe than we did when younger. What I would like to know is what the contemporary readers, say women in their forties but reading in the 1950s, thought of it all? Was it such a romantic convention that no one queried it?

MrsVincentPrice Wed 24-Oct-12 21:28:52

Just finished The Corinthian. Used to be one of my faves but now seems a bit thin - there's nothing wrong with it, and there's a perfectly good plot, but the classic Heyer characters like Cedric, Lady L and even pompous Piers and ghastly Melissa don't get enough space to blossom. I do like Cedric, I'm a sucker for flippant young men about town.

I LOVE Faro's Daughter - we are hitting the good uns now.......

Frawli Sun 21-Oct-12 21:47:05

I like Faro's daughter, Deb is a fun heroine, so feisty!

I agree about the child bride thing, I know it would have been quite usual for the time, but I find as time goes on I am starting to prefer the ones with less of an age gap between the hero/heroines. It had never occurred to me that TOS was my exception to this, I think she's 19 and he is about 44 or so? Mahoosive age gap, but you can see how it works, whereas with some of the others, for example, Horry and Rule in A Convenient Marriage, you kind of wonder what he sees in her.

MooncupGoddess Sun 21-Oct-12 20:48:27

Faro's Daughter - also an interesting transitional work (and the last to be set in the 18th century).

thewhistler Sun 21-Oct-12 20:42:10

I don't think anyone ought to shut up or feel constrained because it is such a joy to meander with fellow readers.

But apols to those who do, as I hijacked it. I was too late for TOS so I clearly have a yen to revisit it and sorry. Will try to do better.

Yes, as I grow older I enjoy the more mature heroines too.

What is the next one?

I have no quibbles with the veracity of the child-bride plot _ I was merely pondering how much less attractive I find it as I grow older. I am now far more fond of the more grown-up heroines - Lady of Quality - for example than I was a teenager when I first encountered GH. It really is These Old Shades that as stayed a firm favourite over the decades that I have known & loved her books.
ANd , yes, I completely agree about it being the Cinderella story.

Anyway - this isn't about TOS, and as I didn't re-read The Corinthian in time to comment with any detail, I really ought to shut up.

However, I do agree that this is the one where she gets into her stride with the supporting cast and her comedic touch is much more assured.

imperialstateknickers Sun 21-Oct-12 11:49:11

just placemarking

thewhistler Sun 21-Oct-12 11:40:25

Duchess,

One of the reasons that we all love Leonie is that she is not silly nor particularly naive. In fact, as is said at the salon, she was wise and the dreadful years had left their mark. She has in fact experienced far more than any other G H heroine.

The Cure ( I think) points out that she knows what Justin's life has been like, and she recognises her youth in herself, when she says she must have him to scold her when she is maladroit.

Mind you, we almost never see her being maladroit or silly, which is the reason the only bit that jars with me is when Rupert and she are counting money and she doesn't appear to know how. For an innkeeper's sister that is ludicrous.

And for a child who has lost its father early on, the desire for a father figure is overwhelming. It is highly realistic, along with gratitude and hero worship of the man who literally saved her.

Agree the age thing as well.

(And we love it because it is the Cinderella story.)

BTW, feels v bizarre defending you to you... perhaps Leoniedsv would like to join?

sarahtigh Sat 20-Oct-12 20:59:10

I think child-bride is fairly authentic for the period, most women in the upper class were launched into soceity in the "season" about May when 17-18 any not married after 2 seasons max were considered on shelf and of course by that time it was probably another younger sister had finished with governess, I think it was fairly standard for upper class men to marry later 25 + so a 17/18 year old marrying someone about 30 would not have seemed odd.

Then they was no possibility of a women living alone so the only way to leave her father's house was to marry, or she would end up as companiojn for ageing relatives or unpaid governess for siblings children. Unfortunately even a bad marriage to an idiot or complete twat was considered better than being unmarried, though I do prefer the older heroines like abigail wendover etc better

Pants - I have totally lost the plot with the whole endeavour. I shall try to stay up to speed from now on.

I am dimly recalling The Corinthian from memory and must go and reread based on this thread. It was never in my favourite list - I always thought of it as a half way house for GH. As a pp said, the characters are there but its marred by a clunky plot - I SO agree about necklace subplots.

When Richard reappears as Alverstoke there is a) no necklace and b) a better heroine.

As I get older, I don't see the magic in the whole child-bride plot anymore - unless the groom is equally child-like which is why Sherry & Hero work and Freddie & Kitty. (Although I do make an exception for Justin & Leonie - probably only because it was my teenself's favourite book and I'll forgive Justin anything.)

thewhistler Fri 19-Oct-12 10:49:53

Mooncup, yes on the relationship but I think that is for two reasons. One of which is authorial development, but the other is that it is the cynic falling for a much younger woman rather than the meeting of equals in maturity.

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