Georgette Heyer’s Marmite Novel
I don’t think I’ve come across another Georgette Heyer book that polarises opinion quite the way Regency Buck does. Written in 1935, Regency Buck was the first GH novel to be set during the regency period.
Judith Taverner is a beautiful, spirited young heiress who, with her younger brother Peregrine, comes to London to join high society. She takes an instant dislike to her unwilling, and high-handed, guardian, Julian Audley, Earl of Worth. He, upon first meeting her in a small town filled with bucks attending a boxing match, treats her in an over-familiar manner. After a shaky start, Judith takes London by storm. Peregrine is a handsome boy who seems to get into an inordinate number of scrapes, some of which actually put his life in danger. Judith’s cousin Bernard Taverner is kind and attentive, and she is able to confide her cares to him.
- Judith’s spirit and her rebellious nature (except when she is with Worth – see below).
- Worth as the prototype for future Heyer heroes. He has so many of the right ingredients – he is a handsome, arrogant, athletic and sardonic alpha male. He has a droll sense of humour and is a man of fashion.
- The cast of real-life characters including the Prince Regent, The Duke of Clarence and Beau Brummell
- The character of Beau Brummell. He is charming, understated and witty and his friendship with both Worth and Judith adds to the story. Mr Brummell dominates each scene he is in.
- Charles Audley! He is one of the most likable characters in any Heyer book and I would not have blamed Judith if she had fallen in love with him. He thoroughly deserved his own sequel (although An Infamous Army is not a personal favourite).
- Georgette Heyer’s meticulous research and scene setting (as always)
- I like the dark undertones. This book combined the best of Georgette Heyer’s two genres – the historical and the mystery.
I don’t like:
- The relationship between Judith and Worth – they bring out the worst in each other. Judith is intelligent and feisty but, in Worth’s company, she becomes sulky and spoiled. Worth, as I have said, has all the ingredients of the perfect Heyer hero, but it doesn’t quite work. Future heroes like Alverstoke and Damerel have more flaws, but, somehow, I just like them more.
- I’m also not happy with the kiss when they first meet. It’s out of character for a ‘gentleman’ and doesn’t fit with the Worth we come to know later in the book. And ‘Clorinda’ … well, more about that odd nickname later!
- Personally, I’m not fond of Peregrine (although, I do like the name and have used it in my own book!). He comes across as silly and whiny, so I don’t have much sympathy for his plight.
Because it was her first attempt, I can forgive GH some of the issues in this book. It is as if she was practising the perfect regency romance and I do think she keeps the best elements and uses them well in future novels.