Georgette Heyer is almost always a delight to read and I found this 1956 novel, Sprig Muslin, particularly enjoyable and entertaining. Set in the Regency period she recreated so convincingly, it has all the humour, adventure and romance I expect from her work and although the plot is similar in many ways to the later Charity Girl, the two books are different enough that there’s no risk of confusing them with each other.
It’s been seven years since Sir Gareth Ludlow lost his beloved fiancée in a tragic carriage accident but he is still sure that he will never feel for another woman what he once felt for Clarissa. At the age of thirty-five, he knows he can’t put off marrying any longer so, having given up hope of falling in love again, he makes the decision to propose to his old friend, Lady Hester Theale. Things don’t go quite according to plan, however…
Stopping at an inn on the way to Hester’s estate, Sir Gareth encounters Amanda, who is ‘very nearly seventeen’ and is running away from home as part of a plot to force her grandfather into allowing her to marry the young army officer she loves. Aware of all the dangers that could befall a young lady travelling alone, Sir Gareth insists on taking Amanda with him to Brancaster Park where Hester can take care of her until he is able to discover her full name and return her safely to her family. Furious at what she calls her ‘abduction’ and determined to continue with her plans, Amanda soon escapes from Sir Gareth’s clutches and our hero sets off in pursuit. The rest of the novel follows their escapades as Amanda does her best to stay one step ahead of Gareth, often with hilarious results!
I think the Heyer novels that take place on the road, like this one and The Corinthian, are particularly fun to read. There’s never a dull moment during Amanda and Gareth’s journey and they meet a selection of colourful characters along the way, including Hester’s lecherous uncle, Fabian Theale, the aspiring poet Hildebrande Ross and farmer’s boy Joe Ninfield. As for the main characters, I really liked Sir Gareth who, although he’s not one of my personal favourites, is everything you could want in a Heyer hero, and I also loved the contrast between the book’s two heroines. Amanda is a bit silly, admittedly, but she kept me amused with her imaginative stories and inventions and the way she stumbles from one scrape to another, while I warmed to Hester more and more as the novel progressed and an inner strength was revealed beneath her quiet, gentle exterior.
Now I’m looking forward to my next Heyer; I just need to decide which it will be!
16 thoughts on “Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer”
I love this one and I agree with you that the chase / road ones are the best!
I think they are all enjoyable in their different ways, but I do love the more adventurous ones like this one.
I enjoy Georgette Heyer’s novels, too!
Her books are great, aren’t they? I’m glad you enjoy them too. 🙂
This one made me laugh when I read it. Amanda sure has a talent for running away. And the things Sir Gareth did to get her back! Loved it. 🙂
Yes, I remember that you loved this one!
Yes, this is a good one. I also like the one about the young duke who finds himself in a similar situation. I can’t remember its name right now.
The one about the duke doesn’t sound familiar to me, so I probably haven’t read it yet. I loved this one, though!
I’ll try to remember to look at mine and figure out which one it is.
This isn’t my favorite, though I love the ending of the story- but you’re making me think I need to read it again.
I think she wrote better books, but this one was fun and just what I was in the mood for!
It’s been many years since I read this one. It’s time to borrow it from my mum!
I am still working my way through all of Heyer’s books for the first time, but I’m sure I’ll want to re-read some of them too!
These are my comfort reads. Every time I want to read something but don’t want to start something new or heavy, I pick these up. I have my favourites and I’ve read them a countless number of times! So lovely that you’re discovering them… I used to be thrilled every time I got a new Heyer in hand! 😀