Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Book Review of 'Venetia' by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer has to her credit about 40 historical romance novels and 12 detective novels. Her historical romance novels are a delight. They are very popular and make for a light read. The specialty of her writing is the presence of humour and hilarity throughout the plot. Moreover, the characters are so alive and energetic that they seem to leap from the pages!

I have read only five of her romance novels- April Lady, Arabella, The Convenient Marriage, The Reluctant Widow and Venetia. I liked them all fairly well but I think there are some basic ingredients in most of her novels- an outspoken and frank heroine, a smart and rich hero, extravagant and naive guys, trouble through gambling, marriages in jeopardy and of course a wonderful romance.

I have also read one of her mystery novels Death in the Stocks which however, disappointed me a great deal. I do not think I would care for another!
Now about ‘Venetia’

Author: Georgette Heyer
Price: Rs. 285/- (I got it online at a discount of 25%)
ISBN: 978-0-099-4-65652
Main characters: Venetia, Lord Damerel, Aubrey, Edward Yardley, Oswald etc.

Venetia Lanyon was the eldest of the three children of a wealthy landowner. She was a charming woman of twenty-five with a startlingly frank nature, quick wit and an amiable disposition. Her two younger brothers, Conway and Aubrey, were very different from each other as could be. Aubrey was a bookworm with a brilliant brain but suffering from a physical disability. On the other hand, Conway was a great sportsman who did not enjoy intellectual pursuits.

Their father was an eccentric and selfish person for whom they did not care much (and vice versa) - as Venetia clearly states after his death ‘In fact, we go on very much better without him’!

After the death of their father, Venetia was left with the responsibility of taking care of Aubrey and the household, since Conway was away having a good time and could not be bothered with such affairs.

The Question of Marriage
Getting married was the ultimate aim of a woman in those times and in that respect Venetia’s future seemed vague. Venetia and Aubrey did not move in social circles, which rather dulled her marriage prospects.

However, there were two suitors ever ready to marry her if she chose- Oswald and Edward Yardley. (These two characters have given me several opportunities to have a laugh!) Oswald was a naive young chap of 19 with a wild imagination and an immense desire to be a hero. He was waiting for an opportunity to help the damsel in distress or to undertake any dangerous to win the heart of his beloved!

Edward Yardley in contrast was a sombre man of about thirty who was bossy with no liveliness or wit. He was so sure that Venetia would agree to marry him eventually that he meddled with her affairs with no ceremony. Hmm...not a bright future for Venetia, huh?

Enter Lord Damerel
It was then that Venetia meets Lord Damerel. It was all well and good but for the fact that he had a bad reputation and any acquaintance with him was scorned upon.
So what becomes of the beautiful Venetia and the notorious Lord Damerel?? That forms the main part of the story and I could not possibly tell you more.

My Opinion
Pretty good. Hope you would give it a try.