Georgette Heyer was a rather prolific writer of Regency Romance novels (as well as Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Contemporary fiction; her complete list of works includes more than 50 novels spanning a fifty year career). These books are written in a way that reminds one of Jane Austen, both in the subject matter and the setting. For someone who loves Austen's England, these books are a fantastic find.
I am currently working my way through Ms. Heyer's novels (I'm on my third so far - "The Foundling"), and I wanted to introduce you to "Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle".
The story centres around Sylvester, Duke of Salford, and Phoebe Marlow, the granddaughter of Sylvester's godmother. Sylvester has decided to get married, and has a shortlist of candidates. These women have been picked based on their breeding, their demeanor and their appearance (which is not Sylvester's primary concern; he is looking first and foremost for a woman suited to become the wife of a duke). As a favour to his mother, Sylvester decides to investigate the possibility that Phoebe Marlow might make the list.
Phoebe could not be further from Sylvester's ideal; she's more at home in the stables than the sitting room, she is shy (due to an emotionally neglectful, perhaps abusive, stepmother), and she is a novelist.
While Sylvester reminded me of Austen's Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice", Phoebe seemed more like Anne Elliot from "Persuasion". Instead of being the confident, high-spirited heroine found in other Austen novels, Anne Elliot was quiet, intelligent, and shy (and one might even call her "plain"). But Anne, like Phoebe, has a great deal hidden beneath the surface. It is very worth the time to get to know both Anne Elliot and Phoebe Marlow.
I don't want to spoil the book for any of you who might read it. Because it is definitely worth the read. My only regret is that it has taken me so long to discover Georgette Heyer!