Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Rating 2.75/5

I think I made the mistake of approaching this book too seriously. Turns out it is a bit of a farce. There's no denying Heyer knows how to use words in a certain way that gives a nod to regency period romances. It's not quite the same, though.

The plot--if you can call it that--revolves around an extended visit from crazy cousin Sophy. She waltzes in, doesn't approve of what she sees and sets about scheming and conniving until she gets the result she feels is best for everybody. She will stop at absolutely nothing to get her way. She flies in the face of convention, decorum, common decency, and even the law. That's right, she shot a man in the arm as part of her plan to get her cousin Cecilia to marry him. And he thanked her for it, as presumably every character does in the end, even though she's a borderline sociopath. She charms--or fake cries--her way out of everything. Luckily for Sophy (and convenient for the author), everybody seems well satisfied with the results of her manipulative schemes, despite her devious methods, so she's forgiven, and even rewarded with her hard-won-over cousin Charles' hand in marriage. Saw that one coming from a mile away, by the by. While Sophy's tactics may not be predictable, the outcome was never really in doubt, which made for a lack of tension throughout the entire book. There was no real depth of feeling here, either by the reader for the characters, or any of the characters for each other (unless you count Charles' rageful annoyance towards Sophy), or themselves. The level of ridiculousness reaches epic proportions at the climax of the story, where virtually every character shows up to act out his or her own caricature in a frenzy of folly. I truly wish I had been forewarned that this was a silly book--I might have been able to enjoy it a lot more.

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