20 Dec 2010

Review: "Frederica" - She who rules the roast

About ten years ago I stumbled across a really cheap version of "Regency Buck" by Georgette Heyer and in my teenage years, I read this one again and again. So now I have decided to read some more of Heyer's hopefully delightful works. Since Jane Austen did not write nearly enough books, I am very happy that Heyer was a more prolific writer who has gifted us with many novels which will definitely warm me up in the these winter months.
The book I have chosen to start off with is "Frederica" - and I have to admit that I chose it almost solely based on the cover. The cover is just so pretty!

The storyline is rather simple. Frederica is a 24-year-old woman who due to her parents' deaths have become the head of a family of five and who have moved them all to London to give her little sister Charis a London season. Charis is a beautiful but rather dull and silly girl and Frederica is hoping that her kindness, charity and her awestriking beauty will be enough for her to make an eligible match. However, in order to be introduced into the London ton, Frederica calls upon the self-indulgent and rich Lord Alverstoke, an old friend of her father. Lord Alverstoke has lived his whole life in indulgence caring for nothing but his own entertainment so even he is surprised at himself when he lets Frederica talk him into introducing the two girls on the London scene. What seems like a small task at first quickly grows as Frederica's two younger brothers Jessamy and Felix continously gets into scrapes from which Lord Alverstoke is called upon to save them. As the weeks flow by, Lord Alverstoke finds himself getting more and more fond of the little family and of Frederica in particular.

What I loved about this books was the characters. To be honest the plot was nothing special, even a slight bit easy to guess but the characters lifted this one out of the normal run-of-the-mill girl-meets-boy stories. Frederica is an independent woman - or as it is put in the book: She rules the roast. She has no care for herself but takes on her responsibilities for her younger siblings with love, passion and maturity. Furthermore she is the queen of witty repartee and it was pure joy to read the conversations between her and Lord Alverstoke. Lord Alverstoke is your typical hero, a 37-year-old Marquis with a stern exterior and a soft heart. What makes him different is his sense of humour. It is so dry and he says the most rude things at the worst timings and get off with it because of his humour. I adored him. Would love to sit next to him at a dinner party!
Frederica's siblings are also wonderfully sketched. Felix is adorable like only a 12-year-old can be, Jessamy imagines himself a scholar and future parson and Charis is as bird-witted as can be.
Heyer also manages to evoke London at a time where industrial innovation with running high and she gives us a rare insight into the going-ons of the London drawing rooms.

If you like Jane Austen novels and adore history and romance, this book is for you!


  1. I really should read more Heyer; I've read a few and of course I adore Austen so I should make more of an effort to read her.

  2. I've not read any Georgette Heyer - which one do you think would be the best to start with?

  3. Well this one I think is a great one to start with - or Regency Buck, it is one of the really famous ones.

  4. It's brilliant when characters can carry the story...those are amazing books, in my opinion. I don't think I've read any Heyer though...crazy, eh? Excellent review, Willa :)

  5. Definitely one of my favourite Heyers. Try Sylvester, or The Black Sheep - and Arabella. You have so much fun ahead of you.

  6. I discovered Georgette Heyer just a few years ago but I've really enjoyed the few books I've read. Lady of Quality so far is my favorite! Must put this one on my TBR list.

  7. I'm quite fond of Georgette Heyer -- she's a perfect fluffy read. I like to ration out her books to myself, so I'll always have a new one to read when I'm feeling down. :)

  8. This is so weird! My husband's cousin has a daughter named Charis. We sort of thought it was a crazy name that she just made up, but now I know it is a real name...or at least a name of a book character!

    I thought Heyer was more of a romance writer than a writer like Austen. I know Austen has relationships in her novels, but not the romance sort of stuff I thought Heyer has. But if you think it's a good substitute for Austen's not have written much compared to some, I think I'll have to give her a try!

  9. I've always loved Heyer (and still do!). Her books are so full of wit and charm and I can always depend on them to lift me up or to fill in gaps for some very light-hearted reading. I've read almost all of her books...definitely her romances!:)
    I'm so glad you enjoyed Frederica.