This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.













Sunday, February 1, 2009

Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer - A review


Alas, blood is not thicker than water, after all. At least this seems to be the case for Charity Steane, the unfortunate young woman whose father is dead and who has been thrust into the care of her mean relatives. Unable to bear her life with the Bugles, she runs away and is rescued en route to London by Viscount Desford who takes it upon himself to find a better life for Cherry, as she likes to be called.


Georgette Heyer's novel, the second that I've read, is light and frothy. At times it gets a bit longwinded but you can always count on a character to clarify a situation for you and that can be greatly appreciated, as anyone knows who reads books that simply don't make their plots clear. Now who's that? Why's he there, not in London? How'd she get out of that scrape? Characters explain themselves which can be either tedious or helpful, depending on the reader's temperament. Consequently, you could shave off a great deal of this novel and retain the whole plot and even most of the characterization (which, by the way, is done very well.)


There's no real way to emphasize how light this novel is; it's lighter than air or even helium. And it's without that shoe and shopping mania, that man-crazy female theme that so many of today's 'chick-lit' novels aspire to. Say you're drinking champagne. This is the bubble that tickles your nose. Non-alcoholic.


And the characters are loveable, particularly Cherry and Desford and, later, Hetta and Simon. Reading Georgette Heyer's work astutely, the reader realizes that it wouldn't be all fun and games living in Regency England, despite the frothiness of the tales. This becomes obvious when you consider lives from the minor characters' viewpoints, or at least when you consider how vulnerable they are to those on whom they rely. If it's Desford and Hetta being relied on, no problem. The major characters that populate this novel are loveable for a reason, not least of which is their decency.


So why is it that water is thicker than blood? I won't tell you. Why would I want to spoil it?


Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for this complimentary review copy.

5 comments:

Shimona said...

Congratulations! I see you are well on the way to becoming a Georgette Heyer fan. This particular novel ("Charity Girl") was never one of my favourites, but I can't say there's a Heyer novel (at least among the Regency romances) that I have disliked. I recommend "Friday's Child" though - that's always been my favourite and was, if I'm not mistaken, the first of her Regency novels that I ever read. But some of her novels, such as "A Civil Contract" are deeply serious and well on a par with Austen. (I know- that's almost sacrilege, isn't it?) So, you've only read 2 so far? In a way, you're very lucky - you've got almost 40 left to discover!

Jemima said...

Thanks! Yes, discovering new writers is lovely! - a whole new set of books to look forward to...

rohit said...

An enjoyable read Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.

rohit said...

An enjoyable read Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.

Aniko said...

Thanks so much, rohit!

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