I mentioned "The Nonesuch" by Georgette Heyer in my last post but I wanted to devote some more paragraphs to it, because as you could tell, I really enjoyed it! So much so that I spent two night in a row reading with a torch under cover of the duvet so as not to keep my boyfriend awake with the light.
As with so many other Heyer's novel the centre of this story is a romance - well more than one romance actually - but what I found more interesting was the dynamic between the two central female characters.
Ancilla Trent is a genteel 26-year-old woman who has fallen on hard times and has taken up a role as a governess in Yorkshire - truth be told, she is more than a governess, she is a companion and guide for a young woman who is so self-obsessed and wild than only Ancilla can control her. Tiffany Wield is the young woman in question. She is beautiful beyond belief but her beauty is also her weakness as she is so used to being admired and spoiled that she has developed into a narcissistic and cold young woman with no thoughts for anyone but herself. She looks up to Ancilla and allows herself to be guided by her advice but even this slight degree of control is tested when two men come to the neighbourhood.
Sir Waldo Hawkridge, known as the Nonesuch due to his athletic skills and popularity in society, comes to the neighbourhood with his nephew, the young Lord Lindeth. They are expecting to spend only a short time int he countryside but they are quickly accepted into the upper circles of the neighbourhood and Lindeth becomes taken with the beautiful Miss Wield.
Sir Waldo sees through the beautiful exterior of Miss Wield and senses her lack of feeling and her need for attention and he does what he can to spoil their blossoming romance. Meanwhile, Ancilla is struggling to keep up her self-imposed role as old maid and strict governess and finds herself yearning for her carefree days as a young gentlewoman.
The differences between the misses Wield and Trent provide the dynamic that drives the story forward. The message is clear - what counts is not what is on the outside but what is on the inside. It's not a new or original message but it's true and here it comes wrapped up in a great story so I can only recommend that you give it a go.