Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Review: The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

ISBN: 978-1402213519
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Paperback: 320 pages
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
First Line: It was dusk when the London to Little Hampton stage-coach lurched into the village of Billingshurst, and cold mist was beginning to creep knee high over the dimly seen countryside.
One Word Review: Delightful

Publisher's Description:

A fateful mistake...

When Elinor Rochdale boards the wrong coach, she ends up not at her prospective employer's home but at the estate of Eustace Cheviot, a dissipated and ruined young man on the verge of death.

A momentous decision...

His cousin, Mr Ned Carlyon, persuades Elinor to marry Eustace as a simple business arrangement. By morning, Elinor is a rich widow, but finds herself embroiled with an international spy ring, housebreakers, uninvited guests, and murder. And Mr Carlyon won't let her leave ...

I really loved this book. OK, so generally, I would build up to that. I'd tell you how I thought the characters were written really well - they were - and that the dialogue was immensely clever - it was - but I just had to say it. The Reluctant Widow is one of those books that I found myself smiling through. I can totally see why Georgette Heyer was known as the 'Queen of Regency Romance.' She wrote in such a way that allows the reader to just sink down comfortably into the story. I was charmed by her characters and entertained by her wit and engaging plot. If you're at all interested in historical romance (which by the way is refreshingly lacking in explicit content), The Reluctant Widow is a must-read.

Book Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I have not yet read a Heyer novel and everyone seems to love them....guess I'm going to have to remedy that soon! Nice review! ;)

Petunia said...

I've heard lots of good things about Heyer. But your last sentence sealed the deal for me. I know there are several books. Do they need to be read in any kind of order or are they all independent of each other?

Traci said...


This was the first book I've read by her, and I certainly didn't feel like I was 'missing something' from a previous storyline. I know she wrote many of these regency romance novels, but I'm not sure if they follow any of the same characters. If so, at least with this one, it's perfectly fine as a stand alone novel. So, to answer your question, I don't think you'd need to read them in a particular order.

I had looked at her other works to see what I might like to read next, and I think I'm going to go with Friday's Child According to Wikipedia, "it is generally considered one of Heyer's best Regency romances, and was reportedly the favourite of the author herself."

Linore Rose Burkard said...

Oh, yes, yes, Georgette Heyer's regency romances are the way to go for great cozy reading! She was one of my biggest influences for becoming an author, myself. I still have only read a handful of her regencies, but I'm slowly working on it--five children and my own writing has slowed me down. Your post was a great reminder to get back to her books.
I too believe in leaving the bedroom scenes behind closed doors, by the way, and in crafting satisfyingly happy, romantic endings. Thank you, Georgette, for your wonderful legacy of books!

Linore Rose Burkard
"Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul"

Aarti said...

I LOVE Georgette Heyer. I am slowly amassing a collection of all her books in hardcover. Reluctant Widow is one of my all-time favorites! I think you should also check out The Talisman Ring. Same mystery bent, and HILARIOUS.