Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer is a Regency romance full of mischief. It tells the tale of a woman working in a gaming house, a young man fervently hoping to marry her, and the young man’s uncle, who is willing to go to any lengths to prevent a wedding that will never come to fruition, regardless of his interference. Full of Heyer’s usual talent and Regency snark, hilarity quickly ensues.
If you are a fan of old school Regency romances, romantic comedies with a hefty dose of absurdity, or want a fun way to brush up on your SAT words, I highly recommend this book.
A Regency Character Summary:
Max Ravenscar: Very wealthy, reserved, and calculating, Max Ravenscar likes to win. When Miss Grantham refuses his offered bribe of money in return for not marrying his young cousin, his pride and competitive nature kick into overdrive. He WILL ferret out Miss Grantham’s motives and he will use them to beat her in the war that inevitably follows.
Miss Deborah Grantham: Miss Grantham is a lot like Jane Austen’s Emma. That is, if Emma’s position in life classified her as a strumpet among the ton and if she had been far less self-entitled. Rather than focusing all her energy on the love lives of others, Deborah is singularly focused on winning her battle with Mr. Ravenscar. She is so heartily offended by Ravenscar’s bribe and its assumptions about her character that she is determined to pretend she will marry his cousin at all costs. Deborah refuses to be bested, even after events take a sharp turn toward the absurd.
“Oh, if I were a man, to be able to call him out, and run him though, and through, and through!”
Lady Bellingham, who appeared quite shattered, said feebly that you could not run a man through three times. “At least, I don’t think so,” she added. “Of course, I never was present at a duel, but there are always seconds, you know, and they would be bound to stop you.”
“Nobody would stop me!” declared Miss Grantham blood-thirstily. “I would like to carve him into mincemeat!”
Lord Mablethorpe: As a man who has not quite come of age (just 2 months shy of the magical 21st birthday), he is unable to marry without parental consent – which is truly a shame because there is nothing he wants more in life than to immediately marry “Deb.” Of course, everyone else knows that Deborah is merely his first love and the infatuation will fade. Deborah herself has absolutely no desire to bind herself to Mablethorpe and manages to never actually consent, though she lets him follow her around like a lost puppy.
Faro’s Daughter also has the usual assembly of side characters to round out the story and enable the main cast. I particularly liked the boxing doorman and the unrepentant heiress who toys with fortune hunters.
3 of the 17 words I looked up while reading this book:
farrago – a confused mixture
magniloquent – using high-flown or bombastic language
obdurate – stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or course of action.