The Earl of Spenborough has always been noted for his eccentricity. Leaving a widow younger than his own daughter Serena is one thing, but quite another is leaving Serena's fortune to the trusteeship of the Marquis of Rotherham -- a man whom Serena once jilted and who now has the power to give or withhold his consent to any marriage she might contemplate. When Serena and her lovely young stepmother Fanny decide to move to Bath, Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers an old love, Major Hector Kirkby. Before long, Serena, Fanny, Kirkby, and Rotherham are entangled in a welter of marriage and manners the like of which even Regency Bath has rarely seen.
Dashing, funny, romantic - a novel by one of our best-known and most beloved historical novelists who has captured a whole new generation's heart.
"Lady Serena Carlow is an acknowledged beauty, but she's got a temper as fiery as her head of red hair. When her father dies unexpectedly, Serena discovers to her horror that she has been left a ward of Ivo Barrasford, marquis of Rotherham, a man whom Serena once jilted and who now has the power to give or withhold his consent to any marriage she might contemplate. With her father's heir eager to take over his inheritance--and Serena's lifelong home--she and her lovely young stepmother, Fanny, decide to move to Bath, where Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers an old love, Major Hector Kirkby. Before long, Serena, Fanny, Kirkby, and Rotherham are entangled in a welter of misunderstood emotions, mistaken engagements, and misdirected love." (Amazon.com review)
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Enjoyable, but an 'almost but not quite'
Having found on several of Ms. Heyer's books I've enjoyed the spoken version even more than the original written one, I'm not quite sure why this is the other way around. The book I've always liked - it has all the usual Heyer elements, Serena the main female character is mature, determined and headstrong, Ivo Rotherham is autocratic, Fanny is sweet and gentle, Emily naive and her mother Lady Laleham a beautifully drawn social-climbing horror. The obligatory 'character' is the glorious Mrs Floore, and it's her, in this version, that comes over as the most sympathetic. I heard Sian Phillips read Sprig Muslin wonderfully, so don't know why this one never really comes alight. It may be because the voices aren't always clearly defined and Ms. Phillips uses her own voice for both the narration (obviously) but also for Selina, which can be confusing. Not bad, it's a good book and I wouldn't want to return it, but I don't think it's the best.