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Georgette Heyer - Regency Buck (1935)

Regency Buck is not Heyer's first novel, but it was the first of her Regency romances. It features fictional characters interacting with real people such as the Prince Regent, his brothers the Royal Dukes, and Beau Brummell. Strong-willed heiress Judith Taverner spends the novel at odds with her equally strong-willed Guardian, the Earl of Worth, while trying to keep her rakish brother Peregrine from going off the rails, and fending off unwanted suiters with both honourable and dishonourable intentions. It ends with virtue triumphant, the villain confounded, and marriage in the offing.

As a teenager I read and reread pretty much all of Heyer's Regency romances, and have reread randomly at intervals ever since. I reread this one during June, probably for the third or fourth time, but my first Heyer for some years. It was my backpack book for a few weeks, read a chapter or so at a time when travel permitted, until I finally finished the last third in one sitting. Along the way it was included in The Guardian's list of 1,000 best novels of all time, in the Love section, alongside The Infamous Army. (Completely coincidentally, I was reading in parallel Germania by Simon Winder, which provided some additional and unfavourable perspective on the House of Hanover.)

It's not very surprising that when read one chapter at a time the book moved slowly and I got a bit bored. I knew how the plot came out, after all, and all the Regency infodump that was such delightfully novel worldbuilding for my teenage self is wearily familiar now. Nor do I find much amusement these days in tales of lovers all awry. So maybe it is just me, jaundiced by over-familiarity with the scenery, who will find the plot driven by Heyer's wish to introduce another aspect of the social lives of the haut Ton, rather than any convincing interaction of the characters.

But the last hundred pages trotted by merrily enough, despite featuring almost every mile of Judith's drive in her curricle from London two-thirds of the way to Brighton and otherwise showing all the same characteristics as the first two-hunded and fifty. I ended the book quite in charity with Heyer's world all over again. Now, I wonder whether I still have a copy of The Infamous Army...

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
anef
26th Jul, 2015 07:12 (UTC)
Regency Buck was the first Heyer I read, and I still remember struggling with the slang, before it became integrated into my personal vocabulary. In retrospect the book isn't one of my favourites and I don't re-read it often. I find Judith exasperatingly stupid, and the hero - what's his name - Julian - smug and controlling. I can't remember the next book I read, but it might have been These Old Shades, which completely won me over.
coth
26th Jul, 2015 08:51 (UTC)
I agree entirely with this comment. I just happened to pick it up for free, and it was close to hand when I needed a backpack book for occasional reading. Which, under the circumstances, it suited quite well. I rather wish it had been one of my favourites though: The Grand Sophy, or Venetia.
pennski
26th Jul, 2015 17:09 (UTC)
Oh those 2 are among my favourites too!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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Caroline M

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