I’ve been re-reading Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer over the past few days. This is my 3rd or 4th time reading the book and I am utterly charmed by it. However, I guess that wasn’t always the case. In fact, perusing my first review of it, I apparently found it dramatic, “thespian” (not really sure what I meant by that), and hardly deserving 4 stars. Now I read it and wonder why I didn’t give it 5.
I am a little over half way through but I just felt the need to pause and admire the characters and setting of this book. Judith Taverner, the heroine, is absolutely wonderful. Georgete Heyer has a tendency to group her heroines into one of two categories – young and naive, or slightly order and more mature. In that sense, Judith is similar to Sophy and Frederica, two of my favorite characters, not only from Heyer’s works, but possibly in all literature. What sets Judith apart in a way I never fully appreciated, however, is the way she embraces being a darling of society. Not only does she take snuff, she has her own mix. She doesn’t just drive in the park, she drives her own high seated phaeton. She goes from a nobody to best buds with Beau Brummell himself. In short, Judith uses her position to become eccentric. It is hilarious and wonderful and I absolutely love every moment with her.
There are also a host of other brilliant side characters tucked into this book that I had forgotten about. I’ll keep this post short and just share one…Lady Albinia.
“She was a short sighted, vague woman of no particular beauty, and a total disregard for prevailing fashion. A Paisley shawl, which she wore to protect her from the draughts, was continually slipping from her shoulders and becoming entangled in the furniture…She seemed incapable of helping herself and when she dropped her fan or her handkerchief, as she frequently did, merely waited for someone to pick it up for her, breaking off in the middle of whatever she was saying, and resuming again the instant her property was restored to her. She had a habit of uttering her thoughts aloud, which was disconcerting to those not much acquainted with her, but which no one who knew her paid the least attention to.”
This character barely gets any more attention after that wonderful paragraph, but there is one scene where Judith and Lord Worth walk in on her hosting some neighbors…
Lady Albinia, who in making the necessary introductions turned to the Earl and said: “You see the Fox-Matthews are come to call on us, my dear Worth. So obliging of them! They have been sitting with us more than half an hour. I do not believe they will ever go.”
Maybe you need to read the book to fully appreciate the scene…but it made me chuckle. I will have to provide a more complete review once I have finally finished the book. It is so good, though! How could I ever have been disappointed in it?