Review of The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer, originally published in 1934
Again, I decided to celebrate February, Valentine’s Day, by reading another Georgette Heyer book. This was a fun book, and I read it quickly.
Knowing her oldest sister loves Captain Heron, a military man with little money, 17-year-old Horatia, a confident, direct young lady, enters into a “convenient marriage” to a man twice her age, in order to keep her family from the financial ruin brought on by her gambling brother. Her husband, Marcus Rule, an always calm, polite gentleman with a lazy way of speaking and lots of money, is his typically agreeable self and goes along with Horatia’s plan of non-interference in each other’s lives (meaning, dalliances with others). There is nothing more than flirtation in the book, but still, it surprises me for that time period (but I guess we’re talking about secular society where wealth and position often superseded morals).
The headstrong Horry defies the advice of Rule and others, and enters into a friendship with the known rake Lethbridge, who one night kidnaps her and attempts to force her affections, during which her heirloom brooch is ripped off and lost. It is found by someone who is determined to hurt the marriage by presenting it as proof of Horry’s unfaithfulness. But in that and other predicaments that she gets herself into, Rule, sometimes playing ignorant of them for the fun of it, merely grows all the more enamored of his wife, as she explains every detail of her naïve adventures truthfully, with steadiness and strength, despite a few tears of shame and embarrassment. Of course at the end they declare their genuine love and affection for each other.
Lovely story, of course, but I admit I did get a bit impatient and scanned several chapters which involved only the men—her brother the Viscount Pelham Winwood, his loyal friend Sir Roland, the devious no-good Crosby Drelincout, Captain Heron, and Lord Lethbridge. I was afraid the book would turn out like The Unknown Ajax, but it didn’t. This one was a very satisfying romance!