sábado, 17 de mayo de 2014

Review: DEVIL'S CUB, by Georgette Heyer

Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
Devil's Cub in FictioDB

A Georgian novel, presenting Dominic Alastair, 'the father of all rakes'

Published: 1932
Genre: Historical Romance, Georgian times
My Rating: 3 stars
38 in AAR Top 100 List

In this sequel to These Old Shades, Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal, proves he’s more rakish than his father, the main character in that novel. That’s why he’s known as the ‘Devil’s Cub’. He’s rich, young, and heir to a duchy - a very eligible bachelor. But he spends his days with the usual pleasures of the rogues –gaming, drinking, loving opera dancers and fighting duels. But OMG it’s  said that he’s courting a bourgeoise. That cannot be, it would be a mésalliance!

One night he drinks too much and shoots another drunken noble. He has to leave England. But he will not go away alone. He’ll take the bourgeoise with him!

Although he wants to take the lovely but brainless Sophia Challoner with him, in the end it’s her not-quite-so-beautiful-but-certainly-more-clever sister Mary who appears before him. She wants to teach him a lesson. Alas! She doesn’t know Vidal yet. He doesn’t care if his companion is one girl or the other –considering what he’s got in mind. Soon Mary finds that he’s not a gentleman but a nobleman. And she has to stop his advances in a rather violent way.

When he realizes that she’s a lady, he feels he’s got to avoid her ruin. But Mary has a different idea about her future. So one moment they are together, and the next one, they are not. Their HEA will require a little wandering around France -and some amazing Burgundy wine bottles.

This novel is a perfect example of the charming Georgette Heyer’s style: witty dialogues and moments of subtle English humour. A very pleasurable reading if you don’t take it seriously. Because if you do, some things are worrisome. ‘Virtue’ equals to virginity or, more exactly, to the mere outward appearance of chastity. It doesn't matter if Mary is pure and honest. That’s the main point in the plot -appearances. And then there’s that disdain towards lower classes. Mary is by far a better person than the reckless Dominic, but everybody, including herself, considers she’s inferior to him, just because of her birth.

It looks like ‘Devil’s Cub’ is Heyer’s most beloved novel. Certainly, it has had a great influence. Dominic is the role model for thousands of rakes that copycat him. But although I enjoyed this novel it’s not my favourite Georgette Heyer. Mary Challoner sounds very severe, how can I say it? More like a Gaskell’s heroine than a witty Austen’s creature. This novel lacks the screwball comedy quality that you can see in later Heyer’s books.

The long review of this book, in Spanish, can be found here.

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