When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.
Lord Alverstoke can't resist wanting to help her
Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising - and altogether entertaining - country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled...-- Sourcebooks
I enjoyed FREDERICA, but I don't think I liked it as much as A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE. Maybe it was because I'm not a huge romance reader, and it was just too soon to read such a similar book. However, I think it was because I thought A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE was just a better story with wittier writing. That's not to say that I didn't really like FREDERICA -- I definitely did. It's just that while I was reading it, I kept comparing the two books.
FREDERICA is a pretty long book -- well over 400 pages; and it did take me about 150 pages to really get into the story. It started kind of slow for me and I didn't really feel an affinity to any of the characters until I got to know them a little better. Eventually, I did really like Frederica and her family; and by the end of the story, I especially liked Lord Alverstoke.
Once again, I was impressed with how Ms. Heyer developed her characters. Frederica is a case in point -- she is still a young woman (all of 24 years old) but she feels like she must be the protector of her family. Her sole purpose in life is to find a suitable husband for her beautiful sister Charis. She never puts herself first in this story -- always her sister and her two younger brothers. As a reader, I found myself feeling a great deal of compassion towards her because she had so much responsibility. She could have been a boring, resentful character; however, I liked that Ms. Heyer gave her a smart, playful side too. It made her seem very human and very likable to me!
While Frederica was the title character of the book and the reader couldn't help but love her, I actually found myself really enjoying the character of Lord Alverstoke. I absolutely loved how his character changed throughout the course of this story. At the beginning of the book, he was a very wealthy bachelor who didn't really give much thought to anyone but himself. I loved how Frederica and her family came into his life and turned it upside down. Not only did I enjoy seeing how he fell in love with Frederica, but I also thought it was interesting to see how he came to be almost a father-figure to the two young boys.
I can definitely say that Ms. Heyer's books are well-written. I never really would have thought that I'd be a big fan of regency romances, but I think I am. I appreciate how Ms. Heyer describes the details from this time period; and I absolutely love reading about all of the styles especially the clothes. She definitely knows how to tell a story and draw the reader into the lives of the characters. In both of the books that I've read, I grew to really like the characters and I found myself rooting for them to realize (and act on) their feelings.
As was the case in A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, I was again surprised by the humor in this book. I think Ms. Heyer's writing is just so smart and witty, especially the banter between Frederica and Lord Alverstoke. (I love how she created so much chemistry between these two characters just through their conversations.) I also found Frederica's younger brothers' behavior and their interactions with Lord Alverstoke to be hilarious. And, the family's dog even provided some of the funnier moments in this story. I think all of the humor in these books (rather than the romance) is what really makes them so special to me.
I highly recommend FREDERICA if you are looking for a good summer read. It is a very entertaining story with lots of romance. Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of FREDERICA.