by Georgette Heyer
Mass Market Paperback:
Released: 1957; January 2005
Source: Bought through Half.com.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
When the new Lady Nell Cardross begins to fill her days with fashion and frivolity, Lord Giles has to wonder whether she really did marry him for his money as his family suggested.
Nell's mother told her that this was a marriage of convenience: Giles had a mistress, so Nell must be polite and undemanding. But when Nell finally realizes that Giles did marry her for love, it's too late. She's run up a terrible debt, and asking for more money will only confirm his growing belief that she only loves his money.
She asks her brother for help, but he's perpetually in debt due to gambling. He comes up with some imaginative ways to raise the money that are sure to get him in trouble. Nell's sister-in-law (Giles half-sister) is determined to marry against Giles wishes even if it means eloping. Nell is worn thin between her brother's scrapes, her sister-in-laws drama and maneuvering, and Giles' cold, suspicious attitude. What will it take for the lovers to admit their love?
April Lady is a Regency romance novel, except it isn't really a romance. The hero and heroine are rarely together. They only act like lovers toward each other at the very end, and Giles doesn't save her from anything except her bills. It's more a humorous historical.
The story revolves around Nell getting into debt because she isn't used to having so much money and it seemed limitless. Giles pays her bills, but scolds her. She assures him there are no more bills and she won't go into debt again. Only, there was one major bill that she overlooked.
There are so many ways--moral ways--to deal with this situation. Two characters keep suggesting very poor methods, and I liked that Nell didn't give in to them. However, it's a story where everything would be quickly solved if the hero and heroine would simply talk to one another. Instead, Nell lies, then gets nervous, and Giles gets suspicious and acts coldly toward her. Things spiral downhill. Yet even when Nell learns her lesson about lying, she immediately does it again.
If anyone but Heyer had written the story, I would have thrown the book across the room. As it was, Nell's brother, his friend, and her sister-in-law add a lot of comic relief that made the story bearable. I think I would have liked the story better if Heyer hadn't tried to sustain the unpaid bill storyline for so long. There were other misunderstandings that could have become the focus. The characters acted realistically, and I could understand how a girl as young as Nell could get trapped into the course that she did. Yet I still found it frustrating.
There were no sex scenes. There was some explicit bad language (most of it swearing using "God"). Overall, I guess I'd recommend this novel to Heyer fans, but I have no plans to read the book again.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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