False Colours, Georgette Heyer
Another re-read with the Heyer listserv (along with a smidge of guilt over re-reading rather than reducing the TBR pile). False Colours has been a favorite of mine for many years. Reading it in the chronological order of composition, though, did give me a new view of it. I had never thought of this as a "late" book, but it was published in 1963, and there would be only six more to come.
It seems to me that in her early works, such as A Convenient Marriage, Heyer sometimes let the excitement of her research overwhelm the story. There is such a wealth of information in these books that a chapter can suddenly feel almost like a data dump, that Heyer was determined to fit what she had discovered or learned into the story, even if she had to shoe-horn it in. With False Colours, I had the same feeling about Regency slang. The dialogue is packed with it, and every character speaks in the idiom, even the elderly Lady Stavely. At first I found that distracting, almost requiring a translation, and I kept wondering if a well-born lady would really say that.
Once I was caught up in the story, though, the slang bothered me less. This book has two very appealing central characters in Kit and Cressy, and a wealth of other people who may be somewhat stock characters in Heyer's work, but who still bring the story to vivid life. Chief among these are Kit's charmingly wifty mama, and Cressy's formidable grandmother, but I'd give pride of place to Sir Bonamy Ripple - who would take it anyway. And there is also Kit's twin Evelyn, whose absence marks the book almost as much as Conway's does in Venetia.
This wouldn't be my desert-island Heyer, but it is always a fun read and I'm glad to have it on my shelves.