Heyer, Georgette. The Nonesuch.

London: Heinemann, 1962.

The “Nonesuch” is Sir Waldo Hawkridge, a leader of the athletic and sporting set of not-quite-dandies known during the English Regency as “Corinthians,” and no one can touch him when it comes to boxing or racing a curricle or riding in the hunt. He’s also very wealthy and all his relatives are surprised when their tight-fisted Cousin Joseph Calver leaves Waldo his entire estate. (Largely because he was the only one of the family not to annoy the old man with all the reasons why he ought to be the heir.)

Now Waldo is journeying up to Yorkshire to look over the property and see how much rehabilitation might be required (he might just add it to his string of charity homes for urban orphans, the existence of which few in the family are aware), and his much younger favorite cousin, Lord Julian Lindeth, goes along for the ride. At the other end of the road is a community of country folk of the sort Heyer likes to stir together, just to see what pops up. Most notable among them is the jaw-droppingly beautiful, seventeen-year-old Tiffany Wield, a spoiled, headstrong, selfish, self-centered heiress who is convinced that (and behaves as if) the world revolves around her. Lindeth, of course, becomes her latest conquest, and Sir Waldo undertakes to keep him out of trouble, even though his cousin is no longer a minor. Tiffany’s governess-companion, Miss Ancilla Trent, is much more gently born than her position would indicate, as well as intelligent and straightforward, and Waldo himself is soon smitten. The narrative proceeds as you might expect — there are no great surprises — but the journey to the story’s resolution is thoroughly entertaining. The characters, as almost always in Heyer’s historical romances, are nicely developed and fully realized — if only she would cut back a little on the period slang and cant. Or else include a glossary, because even with my background in social history, there are words and phrases I don’t know. Still, this one is at the upper end of the Heyer spectrum.


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