16/01/2010

Faro's Daughter (by Georgette Heyer)

I wanted some more light reading as escapism, so - as so often - I opted for Georgette Heyer. I love her writing, find her characters both real and likeable, and enjoy her plots.

I last read 'Faro's Daughter' in 2004, almost six years ago. I vaguely remembered the plot - a young man falls in love with a girl who works in a gaming house, and his older cousin sets out to rescue him.

But I'd quite forgotten most of the details. Adrian, the young cousin, is likeable but immature and really needs someone who can look up to him and admire him. Deb, whom he fancies himself in love with, is older than him. She's not the scheming wench that his cousin Max Ravenscar assumes - in fact she has no intention of marrying Adrian at all. But she's strong-willed and obstinate, and becomes very angry when Max tries to bribe her to relinquish her claims to Adrian's hand.

So most of the book is something of a comedy of errors, with Ravenscar trying a variety of techniques to persuade Deb to agree not to do something which she doesn't want to do in the slightest. She, in her turn, behaves as badly as she can in order to attempt to teach him a lesson.

There are some rather typecast characters too. Deb's aunt is one; she owns the gaming house, and has no idea how to economise or even to make ends meet. Nor does she begin to understand her niece, though she loves her very much. Then there's Phoebe, sweet and innocent, with money-grabbing parents; Filey, a most unpleasant man; Omskirk, who rather fancies Deb too but has no plan to offer marriage to her. I don't mind the caricatures, who provide a good foil for the realistic main characters.

I did find reading this little stressful in places, and I don't think I enjoyed it quite so much recently as I did on previous readings. But it's still a good story - if rather unlikely, even for the times - and the ending is satisfying, after a few surprises. Definitely recommended. I'm pleased to see that it's still in print in both the UK and USA, but it's also widely available second-hand.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 16th January 2010

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