The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

Fair use image public domain
To be sure, Georgette Heyer is on par with Jane Austen in situation intrigue and comedy. I can't think of another author so prolific and so interesting. Even today, she captivates millions with her books written a century ago. That is more than an accomplishment, it is a miracle because today our flighty society raises and tosses away favorites like last night's tissue. She has staying power.

Heyer did her homework. She could have lived during the "powder and patch" period of late 17th century and early 18th century for the close attention to detail she imparts in her early books.  When reading a Jane Austen book you get the complete flavor of early 19th century, all the etiquette and manners and society ins and outs. But, that isn't such an accomplishment for Austen because she actually lived during that period. Heyer pays close attention to minor details of hats and clothing as well as speech. It doesn't detract from the story at all, but enhances it so much you can almost see the foppish flick of the handkerchief.

Fair Use image for review purposes
The Masqueraders was written in 1928 but takes place just after Bonnie Prince Charles tried to take the throne of England beginning in Scotland. Interestingly, Heyer mocks the vanquished Bonny Prince with this story because Charles barely escaped England dressed as a lady's maid. 

The story begins with the rescue of an heiress, Letitia. She had ill advisedly eloped with sinister Markham. Peter and Kate Merriot, brother and sister are actually Jacobites in flight from the failed attempt of Prince Charles for the throne. Exactly why they must disguise themselves as the opposite sex is not important to the plot and therefore is not completely addressed. It suffices they have turned from their wicked ways of the Jacobite and are now bid by their father, The Old Gentleman, to take London by storm. Since both are extremely attractive as either man or woman, this bidding isn't hard to do once introduced to society by lovely Lady Lowestoft.

The sleeping giant, Sir Anthony, easily pokes through the disguises because he simply fell in love with Prudence aka Peter Merriot. Oh, but don't sit back and think all is well!

Markham has designs on Letitia. Rensley thought he was heir to the wealth of the Burham estates and must face inquisition because The Old Gentleman declares he is the younger son and heir to the estate. Lord Burham is a bit tiresome in his narcissism, but one must admit he is very clever and he does do everything he says he will accomplish.

Heyer is such a clever author, she winds this tangled web into such a tight coil and with veritable ease loosens the whole for a most satisfying end.

Worth twice the money and quite a keeper.

Five of Five stars

No comments:

Get widget