Before I started blogging I had never considered reading Georgette Heyer, but after seeing how popular she is with so many other bloggers I knew I would have to give her a try. I’m glad I did – and I’m glad I chose to begin with The Talisman Ring because I really enjoyed it. I could describe this book in one word: fun!
Lord Lavenham’s dying wish is that his great-nephew Sir Tristram Shield will marry his granddaughter Eustacie de Vauban. However, Tristram is a sensible, practical man in his thirties while Eustacie is a romantic, passionate girl of eighteen – and neither particularly wants to marry the other. Eustacie would prefer to marry her other cousin, Ludovic, but there’s just one problem: Ludovic is a fugitive, wanted for murder. With the help of Sarah Thane, Tristram and Eustacie begin a search for the talisman ring that will prove Ludovic’s innocence. This is all part of a thrilling adventure involving smugglers, excisemen, the Bowstreet Runners and a Headless Horseman!
I enjoyed the witty dialogue and the way all the characters interacted with each other, particularly the relationships between Tristram and Sarah, and Eustacie and Ludovic. Even the minor characters were well drawn and fun to read about. One of my favourites was Sir Hugh Thane, Sarah’s brother, who appeared completely oblivious to what was going on around him and was more interested in the contents of the Red Lion’s cellar.
I thought Eustacie was very over the top and as a result, not very realistic, but I can appreciate that Heyer had intended her to be an amusing, entertaining character. I preferred the book’s other heroine, Sarah Thane, who was more down to earth and composed – though like Eustacie, she longs to have some excitement in her life…
“I thought it too good to be true,” said Miss Thane. “If there is one thing above all others I have wanted all my life to do it is to search for a secret panel! I suppose,” she added hopefully, “it would be too much to expect to find an underground passage leading from the secret panel?”
The Talisman Ring has a bit of everything: mystery, adventure, history, romance and comedy. In general I prefer my historical fiction to be more serious, but I still enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of Heyer’s work. I have a couple of her other books waiting to be read, so it will be interesting to see what I think of them.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Pages: 320/Publisher: Arrow/Year: 2005 (originally published 1936)/Source: Library book