Lady of Quality – Georgette Heyer, 1972

The other in the pair of Heyer’s Regency romances which I like enough to have kept and re-read (along with The Grand Sophy). Annis Wychwood, practically “on the shelf” at twenty-nine, takes in and gives countenance to impetuous young Lucilla Carleton, who ‘s run away from home to avoid being married off to Ninian Elmore. Her companion in this escapade? Ninian himself, who doesn’t want to marry her but is being guilted into it by his parents. The inevitable sparks between Annis and Lucilla’s guardian naturally kindle into love, but the many amusing moments come from primarily from Lucilla, Ninian, and Annis’ foolish suitor Lord Beckenham. The plot climax arises when Annis nurses her little niece through influenza and then catches it herself. Heyer’s heroines may be independent, rebellious, and witty, but of course they reveal themselves as Angels at the Sickbed when needed–I guess as part of their competence and clear-headedness in contrast to the other flighty and muddle-headed females (very Austenish), but it’s a bit tarsome, as Georgie Pillson from the Lucia books would say.

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