Monday, June 8, 2009

Venetia by Georgette Heyer ***

This is another of the "classic" romances written by Georgette Heyer before I was born [oops, published 1958 - 3 years after I was born, sorry!]. Her stories have been hit or miss for me - and part of it is the obscure language she uses, the jargon, slang maybe, that makes it next to impossible for me to follow what the heck the characters are talking about. The story was engaging enough but... what the heck are all those weird references?

Venetia is "on the shelf" at the grand old age of 25. She is the middle child - with an older brother, off at war, and a younger brother, Aubrey, with a hip deformity. Her father has recently died, and her mother has been out of the picture for years, after her parents - *gasp*- divorced when she was young. She is now the mistress of their family home, with 2 suitors in the area calling on her from time to time. One is Edward, who is a know-it-all, and the other who is younger than Venetia and thoroughly besotted.

Into Venetia's life comes Jasper - the rake from a nearby home who has been gone from the area for years - and by accident. Well, Aubrey's accident. He's closer to Jasper's home, so he goes there to recuperate, and Venetia visits him everyday. Jasper and Venetia develop a friendship. Venetia is outspoken, a blue-stocking, and apparently good looking as well (if you stick with the story long enough, it becomes clear) and Jasper decides perhaps this time he's in love.

It's shocking for Venetia to visit Jasper's home, and even more shocking for him to visit her home since there are no chaperones - even though they pretend he's come to visit Aubrey. Eventually, Jasper starts to declare himself to Venetia but gets thwarted. There are a couple of twists and turns - the older brother marries and sends his meek wife and odious mother-in-law to their family home; Venetia goes to London to get away from the odious mother-in-law; she learns the truth about her mother; and in the end, Jasper (on his 4th attempt) gets to ask Venetia to marry him, which is where the story ends.

It took me several days to wade through the story (I think I finished 2 audio books in the duration). OK, so perhaps her characters' manner of speaking is more authentic than Regencies written today, but if I can't understand it, how can I read it? I don't feel the least bit more educated because I've read books with weird slang and jargon.

It's an AAR Top 100 of 2007, so at least I get to check that off.

1 comment:

Heather said...

This is my problem with her. I can't understand a word that her characters are saying.