By Georgette Heyer
I enjoyed this much more than I did when I read it in my youth. Then, I did not like the fact that Ancilla was a governess and as such a lower form of life in the community she lived in, despite the fact that she was so superior in “breeding”, intelligence, wit, and elegance. It was just so unfair! I also was not used to the “older” heroine (25?!) romance. Ancilla was just so-o-o-o-o-o very very mature, and not just in age. I think I also had a problem with the name “Waldo”.
Although I did enjoy their romance much more this time, I got more of a kick out of her charge, the spoiled uncontrollable beauty, Tiffany Wield. She just kept me on the edge of my seat whenever she appeared on the page. I suspect, like Lawrence, she was a bit dicked in the nob. I loved the gentle romance between her former swain, the thoroughly nice Julian, and the sweet, but high-character Patience Chartley. The scene in Leeds when she rescues the little ragamuffin from Tiffany’s rage was a riot. The “big misunderstanding” regarding Waldo’s “children” did not bother me as much this time. When Ancilla refused Waldo’s proposal, his reaction revealed the depth of his feelings for Ancilla. As for Ancilla, she needed a little shaking up, as I found her just a bit too even-tempered and sensible. I couldn’t help but think of Emma Thompson as Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility. Her silliness made her a bit more likable.
I found the ending too abrupt, and I don’t think Lawrence, who was partially redeemed in the last chapters, got sorted satisfactorily either. The narration by Eve Matheson was “bang up to the knocker”. There were many entertaining characters and she really captured even the most minor ones, to a T. **4 out of 5 stars**
April 1, 2018