09 June 2011

Review: The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer

Such drama! Such romance!
I must admit to having gone through a bit of a crisis with Georgette Heyer a couple of years ago. I love her historical novels but I got so thoroughly fed up with a couple that prominently featured silly-beyond-suspended-disbelief young females making trouble that I was filled with dread every time I tried to pick up a Heyer novel I hadn’t already read. You might say I was suffering from a surfeit of farce.

This weekend, however, I finally got up the momentum to read The Spanish Bride, which I knew was based on a true story and took place during the Peninsular War and the battle of Waterloo, but beyond that I had no clue. The cover for it is pure romance, but what I discovered was actually a history of certain battles the male protagonist, Harry Smith, took part in, tied together with the story of how he met his wife, Juana, and their first four years of marriage.

The military theme may be daunting to some, who like me are not particularly interested in military history, but rest assured: Heyer manages to make it interesting. This novel is, like all of Heyers historical novels, thoroughly researched and well written, but also more serious in tone. She so cleverly intertwines the Smiths’ story with the military history that one never has time to grow bored by the descriptions of military maneuvers, and by giving the viewpoints of individual soldiers in the midst of battle she brings a human dimension to the war that makes it an interesting read. Knowing that what she is writing about is at the root a true story makes it an even more interesting read.

Recommended to anyone who likes a good historical novel with a dash of romance.
4 stars.

P.S.
Now I think I am just about ready to read An Infamous Army, which covers the battle of Waterloo and the events leading up to it, but first I plan to read Regency Buck, which is a prequel to that. An Infamous Army is also a sequel to Devil’s Cub, which I have already read, so I will be meeting with some old friends.

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