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Monday, June 29, 2009

Review - The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

Title: The Corinthian

Author: Georgette Heyer

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.

Buy The Corinthian Here!

Rating: You Gotta Read

Reviewed by: Mickey

Walking home at dawn, quite drunk, Sir Richard Wyndham encounters heiress Penelope Creed climbing out her window. She is running away from a dreaded marriage to her fish-lipped cousin, while Sir Richard himself is contemplating a loveless marriage with a woman his friends have compared to a cold poultice. Sir Richard can't allow her to careen about the countryside unchaperoned, even in the guise of a boy, so he pretends to be her tutor and takes her on a fine adventure. When their stagecoach overturns, they find themselves embroiled with thieves, at the center of a murder investigation, and finally, in love.

Many authors try to imitate Georgette Heyer, but few come close to her style. Thank goodness every decade or some publisher decides to re-issue her books for a new group of readers. I remember The Corinthian from years ago, and after reading it again I now recall why it was one of my favorites. No one writes dialogue like Ms. Heyer: quick and witty are temperate words to describe repartee so snappy that the participants are sometimes lagging so far behind in the conversation that it takes several sentences before they realize they have been insulted. She lovingly describes every detail of her scenes from the furniture in the rooms to the clothing each participant is wearing to the coaches they are driving. This attention to detail allows the reader to feel as if they are transported to Regency England and allows the imagination more room to roam free and visualize.

One would think that with such minute attention spent on the background features of the book the characters would suffer however; in The Corinthian this is hardly the case. Sir Richard certainly deserves his title of Corinthian, but Penelope, “Pen” is an equal star of this book. What a fun, funny, innocent little sprite she turns out to be. Is it any wonder Richard and the reader fall under her spell? Together with Richard, Pen is the perfect person to create a romantic pair – of sorts. This book, like most Georgette Heyer books, succeeds because it has a large cast of equally hysterical secondary characters in addition to the odd assortment of people that pop up from time to time, characters designed to provide a little comic relief or to advance the plot. Ms. Heyer is a wonderful storyteller, perhaps one of the best, and while it unfortunate that she is no longer with us writing books, we still have her impressive catalog to read again and again.

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