27 Jan 2011
Review: "The Corinthian" - Like a thief in the night
It must be the weather - cold, windy, frosty, dark - that makes me crave, absolutely crave comfort reads. So this winter I have been reading Georgette Heyer like never before, she weaves this magic net of enchantment that falls over and transports me to another place and another time. Namely, Regency Britain. The Corinthian (oh how I love the title) is named after its main character, the rakish 30-year old bachelor Sir Richard Wyndham. He has everything a dandy in Regency London could want for - including his freedom from wedlock. This, however, is something that his sister is very much trying to change but forcing him (with sheer female persuasion) to marry the cold and boring Melissa whose father who has the lineage but no fortune.
Sir Richard finds himself considering this to be his future when one drunken night, he sees something strange. A woman, no a girl, climbing out of a window and asking for his assistance to escape from a marriage that she does not want. And so the adventure begins as the 17-year-old Penelope Creed with naivety and optimism engages Sir Richard in her plot to escape her aunt's home and travel to Bristol. On the way they make some unfortunate friends... Such as a starcrossed couple, a thief, a fraudster, a gamester... You name it, they are there.
This is a fantastic book in the sense that it is exactly as short as it should be. This is the classic story of a journey where two unlikely allies face the world together and magic is created. It is almost like a Regency fairytale and somehow quite far from the other Heyer novels that I have read. Pen is not the strong, mature woman that Heyer often portrays. She is young and smart but has no knowledge of the world and is terribly naive and flighty. Sir Richard is more like her normal male leads - strong, clever, resourceful - but he has more of a protective and yet rebellious streak and I really warmed to him.
Summing it up: The Corinthian is short but sweet - perfect for a Sunday curled up on the sofa.