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Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer

Faro's Daughter (original 1941; edition 2008)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,247386,356 (3.89)116
Title:Faro's Daughter
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Sourcebooks Casablanca (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Europe, Regency, historical fiction, romance, historical romance

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Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer (1941)

Recently added bysrsharms, DelythJ, private library, Booksen, kephradyx, Aneris, SandyAMcPherson, aliciadana, DGRampton



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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This is my first of Georgette Heyer - I kind of wish it wasn't, though, if only because it felt a little to much like Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy but with a different plot! Even secondary characters such as Deborah's aunt smacked distinctly of such archetypical characters as Mrs. Bennett. Still, I enjoyed the repartee between Deborah and Max Ravenscar (although I giggled quite a bit at the last name. Ravenscar? Really?). The secondary characters, too, were engaging and sweet, even if they did make me impatient with their gullibility sometimes! What I particularly loved was the breadth and depth of research in this book, and the quality of the language itself. Heyer clearly understood - I mean really understood - the world she was writing about, and it shows in the way she crafts her dialogue and explains her setting to her readers. There are several moments where I'm glad it's in my Kindle, so I can use my dictionary to figure out certain words or allusions! Despite the overwhelming sense of having read this somewhere before, this is definitely a sweet, enjoyable, intelligent read. ( )
  srsharms | Jul 20, 2017 |
Two and a half stars for Heyer? Yes, I am afraid it's true. Faro's Daughter is definitely one of her more "paint-by-the-numbers" Regency romances. It tells the story of Deborah Grantham, a spirited (and naturally very beautiful) young woman who helps/plays/is employed (?) at her aunt's gaming house. Though she is well bred, this is not a respectable position and so it is with great distress that Lady Mablethorpe hears of her son Anthony's infatuation with Deborah's manifold charms. In steps young Lord Mablethorpe's cousin, the worldly-wise Max Ravenscar who will stop at nothing to prevent the marriage. Only, Deborah won't stop at anything herself to take revenge on a man who misconstrues her motives and goals so badly.

You can see where this is going; it's hardly a spoiler to say that over the course of several unconventional escapades Max of course falls for Deborah himself. He's a stock Heyer character, the hard-headed, rich, physically superb, untouchably skilled whip who has evaded matrimony thus far until he meets his match in another Heyer stock character, the sassy, attractive, smart, stylish heroine.

Heyer wrote to pay the bills and among her many wonderful novels there are several that show this more than others. She is often predictable but you don't read her Regency novels for the plot twists or lack thereof; you're there for the fun. So even as I mentally rolled my eyes just the tiniest bit at all the reused characters and situations, Faro's Daughter still an enjoyable read — and I still finished it in two nights. ( )
1 vote wisewoman | Jul 9, 2017 |
Amusing adventure that has a few farfetched developments. The theme is an enjoyable 'vintage Heyer'. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 1, 2017 |
This will be the one that ends up as my go to recommendation for people who are starting out with Heyer. It used to be The Grand Sophy, but there is that unpleasant anti-semitic streak that runs through it which has led me to be increasingly uncomfortable with recommending that as a first experience with Heyer.

Faro's Daughter, for me, is as close to a perfect Heyer as I think probably exists. It is as sparkling and effervescent as Sprig Muslin, Deb is as strong-willed and honorable as Sophy, Phoebe is as adorable as Arabella, although not so headstrong. The romance between Ravenscar and Deb is as satisfying as Sir Tristram and Sarah Thane in The Talisman Ring.

Like Sprig Muslin & Talisman Ring, Faro's Daughter is a double ring romance, with a pair of younger characters and a pair of older characters. And, like both of those books, I absolutely loved the romance between the more mature characters.

Deborah Grantham is the titular Faro's Daughter, a moderately impoverished woman of four and twenty, which makes her a bit older than the heroine of the average Regency romance. She and her aunt have opened up a card room in an effort to stave off bankruptcy, which is really not going very well because her aunt sort of sucks at money management, and Deb's brother is - as is so often the case in these Heyer romances - a drain on the family finances.

Adrian is the young Lord Mablethorpe, who fancies himself in love with the delectable Deb. There's also a lecherous older character, Lord Ormskirk, who has bought up all of Deb's aunt's bills in an effort to force Deborah into becoming his mistress. She is having none of that, of course, but she rather likes Adrian and doesn't want to hurt him.

The book begins when Lord Ravenscar decides that it is incumbent upon him to save the callow youth from the clutches of the fortune hunter. He badly underestimates Deb's integrity and kindness, and jumps to all kinds of conclusions. He is a huge conclusion jumper, which is the cause of the misunderstanding that leads to a delightful confusion at the end. Deb has no intention of marrying Adrian, she is much too honorable of a person and she isn't a bit in love with him, so when Ravenscar offers her twenty-thousand pounds to leave Adrian alone, she loses her shit.

"The palm of Miss Grantham’s hand itched again to hit him, and it was with an immense effort of will that she forced herself to refrain. She replied with scarcely a tremor to betray her indignation. ‘But even you must realise, sir, that Lord Ormskirk’s obliging offer is not to be thought of beside your cousin’s proposal. I declare, I have a great fancy to become Lady Mablethorpe."

Ravenscar has met his match with the indomitable Deb, but he has no idea. He is accustomed to getting his own way, and is just as pissed as Deb when she turns him down flat, leaving him with the distinct impression that she intends to marry Adrian as soon as Adrian reaches majority, in a bare 60 days. The pitched battle of wills and arms occurs, with Ravenscar buying the bills off Ormskirk, and Deb actually at one point kidnapping Ravenscar and locking him in her basement with the rats.

"‘You have had Ravenscar murdered, and hidden his body in my cellar!’ uttered her ladyship, sinking into a chair. ‘We shall all be ruined! I knew it!’

‘My dear ma’am, it is no such thing!’ Deborah said, amused. ‘He is not dead, I assure you!’

Lady Bellingham’s eyes seemed to be in imminent danger of starting from their sockets. ‘Deb!’ she said, in a strangled voice. ‘You don’t mean that you really have Ravenscar in my cellar?’

‘Yes, dearest, but indeed he is alive!’

‘We are ruined!’ said her ladyship, with a calm born of despair. ‘The best we can hope for is that they will put you in Bedlam."

These are the only two people in London who could handle each other without asbestos gloves and a welding hood.

The second romance involves Adrian and Phoebe Laxton, who is rescued - by Deb and Adrian - from Vauxhall, where her mercenary family is trying to sell her like a lamb to slaughter to a way, way, way too old creepy aristocrat because in that family, as well, the men are useless, profligate gambles and women are commodities. Phoebe is adorable and sweet, and Deb figures out within about twenty seconds that she is just the girl for Adrian. While Ravenscar is accusing her of being the worst kind of gold-digger, she is neatly solving his problem for him, finding a suitable match, and watching Adrian grow up just in time to take care of the fraught Phoebe.

And so, we come to the end, after Adrian has married Phoebe, he returns to town, runs into Ravenscar, and tells him to wish him happy because he has gone and gotten married. Ravenscar again jumps to the conclusion that Deb has married Adrian just to spite him. He shows up at her house to get into a big fight, and tell her that had she not been in such a hurry, she would have gained a much bigger prize - him.

She tosses him out, furious, saying, in Lizzie Bennett fashion, that he is the last man in the world that she could be prevailed upon to marry.

Ah, young love. If only they'd had some electronics to toss around, a DVD player would clearly have gone out the window. It does, of course, all get worked out in the end, and I am convinced that Ravenscar and Deborah are perfect for one another - honorable, fierce, passionate, and slightly nuts. Their marriage will never be boring, and regency London would have been a better place with them in it. ( )
1 vote moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

Faro’s Daughter is a delightful romp illustrating what happens when two headstrong people, used to getting their way, end up on opposite sides. Georgette Heyer may, in fact, be at the root of my love for well-written “misunderstanding” romances. The story begins with Mr. Ravenscar and his aunt making an assumption based on Deborah’s circumstances as to her character, and devolves from there.

Could Deborah have pulled him aside and gently explained the true circumstance in the face of his slander? Sure. But why should she have to bow to his arrogance when he never once entertained the possibility that he might have misunderstood the situation?

That arrogance is certainly not one-sided either, nor do the lengths to which either of them goes make much sense to outsiders. But within an escalating war of wills, anything is game, while there are others happy to manipulate the circumstances for their own interests as well. The nature of Deborah and Mr. Ravenscar’s responses build a much different picture of how they perceive each other as the story progresses, allowing the reader to see the change in circumstances in a lovely fashion before the characters themselves have recognized the source of their extravagance.

As you might have guessed, I enjoyed this story as much as I may have many years before, though it’s possible I had not read this particular title as of yet. However, I promised some observations about the style, so here they are:

Heyer has a particular way of writing with many exclamation points and an exaggerated nature in both the narrative and the dialogue that is very different than today’s standards. It is as though the characters and everything that happens to them is larger than life even when simply sharing a game of cards. Of course, to these two, there is nothing simple about a card game either.

Part of what I enjoyed was the inclusion of the historical circumstances. Families were constantly faced with life-altering decisions such as desperate attempts to save the family fortune through good marriages, and yes, through running a gambling establishment. The quality of the company and the good food could let the proprietors pretend a moral standard but ultimately little separated them from the gaming hells.

It’s not just the difference in their circumstances that set Deborah and Mr. Ravenscar apart but also the difference in reputation. Mr. Ravenscar is not the only one to believe Deborah to have a price that has little to do with her virtue or reputation despite the quality of her bloodline.

One other aspect that deserves mention when current views of the past have blinders is the presence of a black pageboy. It’s only a passing reference, but when you compare that to so many claiming there were only white-skinned persons in London during the Regency, it’s worth mentioning. Apparently, this whitewashing of the past is a more recent event as Heyer (this novel was first published in 1941) saw nothing of note in the inclusion of non-white staff, much like how the skin tones in Regency Era artworks show a variety in all levels of society. ( )
1 vote MarFisk | Jul 26, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Matheson, EveNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paton, LauraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Upon her butler's announcing the arrival of Mr Ravenscar, Lady Mablethorpe, who had been dozing over a novel from the Circulating Library, sat up with a jerk, and raised a hand to her dishevelled cap.
To be sure, it was unfortunate that Arabella should be such a flirt, but what, in another damsel, would have been a shocking fault, was, in such a notable heiress, a mere whimsicality of youth.
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"A wife out of a gaming house! One of Faro's daughters! If I had my way, women of your stamp should be whipped..."

Max Ravenscar regarded all eligible females with indifference, preferring horses, cockfighting or cards. When he learns that his young cousin, Adrian, Lord Mablethorpe, intends to marry lovely Deborah Grantham who graces her aunt's gaming establishment, Max thinks it will be an easy matter to buy off the fair charmer. But Deborah is as spirited as she is beautiful, and Max was overdue for a much-needed lesson.
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Deborah Grantham, mistress of her aunt's elegant gaming house, must find a way to restore herself and her aunt to respectability, preferably without accepting either of two repugnant offers. One is from an older, very rich and rather corpulent lord whose reputation for licentious behavior disgusts her; the other from the young, puppyish scion of a noble family whose relatives are convinced she is a fortune hunter. The young suitor's uncle, Max Ravenscar, comes to buy her off, an insult so scathing that it leads to a volley of passionate reprisals, escalating between them to a level of flair and fury that can only have one conclusion.… (more)

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