Friday, April 27, 2012

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

First let me say that if it wasn’t for book club, I would not normally even think about reading a book published by Harlequin.  (Yes, I am that much of a book snob.) Oh, but I’m so glad I did.  What a delightful book!  This was written in the 1950’s and is classified as a “Harlequin Historical Romance” and is nowhere close to what we (or I) think of as a typical Harlequin.

Sylvester is the Duke of Salford and is looking for a wife.  He has a list of five women with their pros and cons and discusses this with his mother.  She gently scoffs at him and tells him if that is all he is concerned with he is not ready to get married.  Sylvester is arrogant and privileged and anyone raised as a Duke would expect to be, however we get a few glimpses that there is a caring soul under his somewhat stony façade.

Phoebe’s home life is not quite happy.  She lives with her father and step-mother (or mother-in-law as it was called in the book).  She has younger sisters and a nanny. But Phoebe is most comfortable in the barn with the horses and her best friend Tom. Her step-mother does not help Phoebe to fit into society and her father goes along with whatever her step-mother wants. 

Of course we know they will end up together in the end, but the ride along the way is filled with misunderstandings, mishaps and just plain enjoyable antics.  Most enjoyable for me was some of the slang words used.  I’ve called them “Heyerisms” and listed them here:

·     farradiddles – little lies (“If Lord Elvaston doesn’t know his daughter better than to believe the farradiddles she utters I have a poor opinion of his sense!”)

·     ninnyhammer – dim-witted (“…if she thought…she was no better than a ninnyhammer.”)

·     peccadilloes – little sins (“…loyally shielded her from blame in their peccadilloes.”)

·     fustian – inflated language, exaggeration – (“…don’t talk such fustian.”)

I would definitely read another of her books.

4 Stars (Rated G)

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