The Foundling – Georgette Heyer

The Foundling by Goergette Heyer

I’m a big Georgette Heyer fan. She writes regency romances (and some thrillers, but I’ve never read any of those). Her ‘regencies’ are meticulously researched and you can imagine the world of the ‘ton’ – her use of slang or cant can be a bit over the top, e.g.

‘He don’t look like a downy one to me’ objected the waiter. ‘And if he’s swallowed a spider he wouldn’t have handed me a fore-coachwheel only for asking of silly questions for him’

Her novels are very formulaic as she writes to her publisher …

It is a Regency society-comedy quite in my lightest vain. There is a certain young man who has appeared in several of my books – he was Cedric Brandon in The Corithian, Viscount Winwood in The Convenient Marriage – and some others!

She even refers to Mark 1 and Mark 11 heroes in her letters …

Mark 1: The brusque, savage sort with a foul temper

Mark 11: Suave, well-dressed, rich and a famous whip

Despite all of the above, I love her novels – they are like frivolous Jane Austen novels.

In The Foundling the Duke of Sale escapes his retainers and proceeds to have an adventure involving a run away school boy, a beauty and a charming cad.

The Duke was born after his father’s death and was a sickly child consequently he has been mollycoddled and protected all of his life. His uncle (and Guardian) informs him that he expects him to marry Lady Harriet Presteigne, as does Lady Harriet’s family, he is shocked and surprised, but still (and this I don’t understand) offers for her. While in London, he hears of his cousin’s woes and decides to solve his problems while pretending to be ‘plain Mr Dash’. He is involved in a series of rollicking adventures, but all ends happily.

The ‘foundling’ of the title is the beautiful Belinda who will go off with any man if he offers her a purple silk dress. Mr Liversedge, the villain, is hilarious. He is completely inept at blackmail and kidnap, but finally convinces the Duke to finance a ‘gaming hell’ on the continent.

Finally the relationship with Harriet. This was a bit disappointing. They were reluctantly engaged at the start (at least on the Duke’s part) and in love by the end, but I’m not really sure why of how the transition occurred.

The next Heyer on my list is Cousin Kate.


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