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Review: April Lady by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Historical romance; Regency romance.
Themes: Marriage problems, love, misunderstandings (big mis, no less), gambling, damsels in distress. 
Reading challenge: What's in a Name 2016
Challenge book no.: 3/6, a book with the name of a month in the title.

First I must say that when I was looking for a picture of the cover of the edition I read, I found so many nice ones that I decided to post several. The one on the left is the cover I was looking for and you will find the rest below. This one and the next one (from the original hard-cover edition) are my favourites. 

If you know anything about fashion history you will soon spot the errors in some of the cover images (e.g. too early, too late), and if you have read the book, you will spot more (wrong hair-colour, events that did not take place in the story).

This is a story that hinges on one of those plot elements that I hate: the big misunderstanding. It doesn't help that there is also a spoiled, wilful and rather stupid young woman involved (not the heroine, although she can be pretty silly sometimes) who nearly destroys the heroine and hero's chance of happiness together with her selfishness. 

The plot begins with my lady having to confess that she is over her ears in debt. She doesn't admit that it's because she lent her profligate brother money but instead lets her husband think it's because she has been gambling. This strengthens his belief in the big misunderstanding, i.e. his belief that she married him to save her family from financial ruin; and her belief that he married her because he had a duty to marry, and not for love. Both are wrong, and it seems everyone around them sees it, but not them. Mind you, these are people who live in the same house, see each other every day, and presumably occasionally have sex.This makes April Lady one of those romances in which the falling in love has taken place when the story begins and the plot is about the people involved finding out they are loved back. I like those kinds of stories, but...

Okay I'll come right out and say it: This is definitely not one of Heyer's best. There are pages and pages of conversations that don't have the sparkle and humour that can be found in some of her other books, the main characters are strangely colourless, and the supporting cast might have been borrowed straight out of a couple of her other books. The only reason I slogged through this was because it was part of a reading challenge and I didn't have a whole lot of other books to choose from. 

Apparently, Heyer herself thought the book was terrible. I'm not quite that merciless - I just find it dull and annoying - but I will certainly not be reading it again, and I think I will cull it from my collection. By the way, the review I linked to above goes into the plot and the reasons why it wasn't very good, in depth. I recommend it.

If you have read this book, do you agree with my opinion of it?
If you haven't read it, would you read it based on this review, or would you avoid it?


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