The Reluctant Widow: Georgette Heyer book club part 14

(50 Posts)
HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Wed 05-Dec-12 12:08:52

I had thought that this was one of my favourites, so I had been looking forward to curling up with it again.

I was disappointed. Carlyon is a shadow - a two-dimensional placeholder. He has a certain Avon-ish omnipotence/omniscience but without the character.

Elinor is fine, but again not a patch on her successors eg Abby Wendover, Ancilla Trent, etc. For an experienced governess she seems incapable of initiative, being rather feebly directed by Carlyon, Miss Beccles and even the Hon Nicky in turn.

The lost letter plot is a bit Talisman Ring, and oh how we cringed last time. This is better, but the convenient deaths are tedious, and far too much happens offstage, so to speak. GH "tells" us too much, instead of "showing". Poor.

Bouncer is a mitigating factor, of course. I love his guarding Elinor where she has to be brought food and drink and things to do. Also Nicky's disdain for Francis who prefers cats... grin

Any other saving graces? I wait to be convinced.

CreamolaFoamFan Fri 14-Dec-12 22:13:50

Also, what LadyIsabella said about Carlyon - you never get the sense that there's a great passion labouring under that many-caped driving coat of his. No betraying look or word after she gets boinked on the head.

thewhistler Sat 15-Dec-12 15:37:06

At least in TTR Tristan teases Sarah on a couple of occasions. No sense of that here.

LadyIsabellasHollyWreath Sat 15-Dec-12 16:15:30

I think in TTR there's a sense of Sarah and Tristan being the "grownups", united by their sense of responsibility to the juvenile leads, so you can believe that they're being drawn together. In RW Carlyon has John to confide in, so there isn't that conspiratorial bond betweeen him and Elinor.

LeonieDeSainteVire Sun 16-Dec-12 09:41:35

I discovered last weekend (pre Christmas visits etc) that my step-mother is a huge GH fan and bizarrely (to me) The Reluctant Widow is her favourite. But she also said she liked the detective novels. So I guess if this is more like the detective ones it just appeals more to a different readership than the romantic, comedy of manners ones.

And I agree about the relationship between Carlyon and Elinor.

CreamolaFoamFan Sun 16-Dec-12 19:52:11

Also, do any of GH's heroines/raving beauties not have curls? England at the time must have been awash with the Regency equivalent of Frizz-ease.

thewhistler Sun 16-Dec-12 23:51:14

Jenny is plain with dreadful unnatural curls

Patience has soft fair hair.

I don't think Frederica has curls.

LeonieDeSainteVire Mon 17-Dec-12 08:39:35

All romantic heroines have curls <<bitter, straight-haired emoticon>>

And often dimples.

Frawli Wed 19-Dec-12 20:59:33

I quite like this one, although there is too much focus on the mystery and not enough on the romance if you ask me. I don't mind her murder mystery books though, although they are nowhere near as good as her romances.

And in my head I pronounce it 'Car-lee-un', never occurred to me it might be another way.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Wed 19-Dec-12 22:30:46

When are we next convening, and which book? I am crap.

Are we having Christmas off, or assuming we have more time to read?

thewhistler Wed 19-Dec-12 22:40:04

Am finally reading, having brought myself to buy the ebook rather than wait for a charity shop reject.

Am enjoying it more than hitherto, and picking up the signs about carlyon but they are too obvious. It's too slight, though a good divertissement from bloody work.

thewhistler Fri 21-Dec-12 12:27:30

But Doctor Ratcliffe's Restorative Pork Jelly makes an appearance, not just in Frederica. I had completely forgotten.

I feel we should take this as our master mind subject.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Fri 21-Dec-12 14:39:38

Oh yes. Sounds revolting. Does one spread it on toast, or make it into a Bovril-like hot pork drink, or simply slurp it by the spoonful?

<vomit>

thewhistler Fri 21-Dec-12 17:30:23

I think slurp by the spoonful, as with calves' foot jelly etc...

Bouncer is the best drawn character, albeit limited development . John would be good but is too solid. Jaguar still fails to convince me - I have read it another twice to check. Elinor doesn't have Sarah or Ancilla's perception, nor does Jaguar say that he is not prepared to let her sacrifice him a la Miles. And the bit with Georgy is too obvious and too soon.

Perhaps that is what is so irritating: we are beginning to be used to character development and in this one, the cardboard does not shift.

On the gay reading however, am now chortling at Francis saying how many intimate friends he has in the Horse Guards.

What's next?

thewhistler Fri 21-Dec-12 17:32:17

and which novels (not mysteries) have Christmas in them?

Judith and Perry spend Christmas at Oatlands, or somewhere, because that is where Perry gets the poisoned snuff.

Not sure about anyone else. They are mostly confined to one season/Season.

thewhistler Fri 21-Dec-12 17:37:18

and - sorry about multiple posts - can't agree Francis is good. He threatens his father with death. Car Lion, whose judgment is impeccable, shudders when he realises that.

Here's a recipe for Restorative Pork Jelly - seems like you drink/slurp it.

thewhistler Fri 21-Dec-12 17:59:32

agree you would have taken a spoon to it. chocolate cups are small, half way between espresso cups and tea cups.

Ooh - interesting point about Christmas...

<slopes off to thumb through GH stash>

LeonieDeSainteVire Sat 22-Dec-12 19:55:50

Don't they have Christmas in Friday's Child? Isn't that when Hero has her race? Will check in a bit but currently cooking. Agree that they are mostly set during The Season, think Venetia gets as far as November?

thewhistler Wed 26-Dec-12 19:46:11

There are too many austen quotations or plagiarisms in TRL. Elinor has "remarkably fine eyes". There are quite a few other echoes, one from Emma, i think, and the whole gothic adventure is northanger abbey with elinor pretending to be catherine.

Have reread again and can see more in Carlyon, but not the strongest.

MooncupGoddess Wed 02-Jan-13 20:32:28

The Foundling next - I've just reread it so happy to start the thread when the time comes.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 03-Jan-13 07:20:51

Oh please do Mooncup - I read it before Christmas and if we don't get started soon I'll forget the plot again <goldfish>.

Yay Foundling. I like reading the ones I don't remember well.

LeonieDeSainteVire Thu 03-Jan-13 13:43:55

I've read so many over Christmas I am miles ahead, I may have to reread them again for these threads. Can't wait to start the Foundling, it has a special place in my heart!

MooncupGoddess Thu 03-Jan-13 19:55:00

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