Frederica by Georgette HeyerNovember 30, 2009
Georgette Heyer books can always be counted on to be uplifting and humorous antidotes to some heavier reads. I was glad to have the delightful Frederica, Alverstoke, and Felix to help distract me from the seemingly mean-spirited brothers Karamazov. Unfortunately, Heyer characters also have a tendency to grab you and not let you go, so of course, I now have roughly 600 pages of Dostoyevsky to read before my book club meeting in two weeks.
The way I describe Heyer to people who have never read any of her books is, “Somewhat like Austen, but with more humor and less social criticism.” Of course, that’s not to say that Heyer books lack any form of social criticism, but it just simply isn’t as predominant as I find it is in Austen’s writing. Some of this may be that Heyer was writing from a much removed time period–the 1930s instead of the 1810s. For more information on Heyer, or for a list of recommended books for first time readers, I would suggest a post called “A Case for Georgette Heyer.” This article is what convinced me to pick up one of her books.
Frederica begins when Frederica, a young woman who finds herself in charge of her family after her father’s death, arrives in London in the hopes of finding a good match for her younger, beautiful sister. But how will they be introduced into polite society after living out in the country for so long? They turn to a distant cousin, Alverstoke, for help, and of course, antics (and love) ensue.
Like many Heyer novels, Frederica is set in the Regency period in England. Unlike the previous Heyer books that I’ve read, however, the main character in Frederica is a male! (Despite the title.) Frederica herself does play a large part in the novel, but it is Alverstoke’s thoughts that we hear most often. This is also one of the first Heyer novels that had many young children play large roles. They provided much comedy, and I often found myself laughing out loud in parts. After reading many of her books, I expect a good Heyer novel to be entertaining and funny, and this one does not disappoint!