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Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer

Regency Buck (original 1935; edition 2001)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,128257,270 (3.8)80
Title:Regency Buck
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Chivers Audio Books (2001), Edition: Unabridged, Audio Cassette
Collections:Your library
Tags:Audio, Regency Fiction, Guardian/Ward, Comedy of Manners, 2012

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Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer (1935)

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    An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer (arctangent)
    arctangent: The main characters return, along with descendants of characters from Devil's Cub and These Old Shades, also by G. Heyer.

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Judith and Peregrine Taverner are not quite of age when their father dies and wills guardianship to his old friend the Earl of Worth, rather than to his estranged brother. The siblings have never met their guardian, and when he fails to follow through after a round of correspondence, they travel from their home in the country to his home in London, with a plan to set up residence in the city. Stopping overnight along the way, at a hotel filled to capacity for a boxing match, they cross paths with a man who treats Judith with impropriety, assuming her to be of a lower class. Upon arriving in London, they discover this man is their guardian. Surely not? He is far too young. Alas yes; the intended 4th Earl died before the will was written, the will erroneously referred to the 5th Earl, and legally there is no way out. He is no happier about the situation than they are, but he is conscientious about his responsibilities. The Taverner fortune is considerable, and the Taverner siblings are naive, vulnerable to exploitation. The Earl arranges a house and servants, and introduces the siblings to society. Judith is a hit, stylishly attired and advised by Beau Brummel on the skills of being remarkable. She is bombarded with marriage proposals, which must be approved by the Earl, who declares that he will reject every one. She protests, not because she wants to marry but because she wants to decide for herself. The Earl tends to take command with minimal communication. Among the men in attentive circulation are the siblings’ cousin, and the Earl’s brother, both pleasant companions. Peregrine gets caught up in gambling and would rapidly drown in debt if not for the Earl’s strict budget, then is smitten by a young woman from a respectable family, perhaps a steadying influence, and the Earl agrees to a betrothal. Peregrine is prone to trouble: he is challenged to a duel, he is shot at on the road, he becomes oddly ill. His fortune will go to Judith if he dies before marrying. Who can be trusted? The romance and the mystery resolve at a slow pace, often receding into the backdrop of social customs and events.

The characters and locations are historically real; for this reason the novel is interesting (I had to look up “Regency”, which indicates my prior level of knowledge), and I’d be inclined to read another in the future. It is also, at nearly 400 pages, a bit tedious. Not because of the writing, which is engaging, but because apparently people of the upper echelons didn’t _do_ anything; their days were filled with dinners, dances, excursions, theater, cards, clubs, invitations, selecting gowns, folding cravats – leisure activities by current standards, but leisure activities that had to be accomplished with precisely the right appearance and mannerisms and social connections. This is approximately my idea of hell, and I would read for awhile then step away for a break, appreciating my middle class job.
  qebo | Jan 15, 2014 |
When Sir Peregrine and Miss Judith Taverner travel to London, determined to confront their new guardian, they are shocked to discover that Lord Worth is none other than the condescending gentleman who insulted them on their journey. Both high spirited, brother and sister chafe at the limits imposed upon them by the imperious earl, whose arrogance, when combined with Judith's pride, cause more than one confrontation. Constantly at odds with her guardian, Judith is unsure whom she can trust when a plot to harm Perry comes to light...

A great admirer of Georgette Heyer's skills as a writer, I am nevertheless constrained to acknowledge that she frequently displays, through her characters, a contemptible class prejudice, particularly as it pertains to women. I am perfectly aware that women of a lower socio-economic status were considered "fair game" by the upper class men of the period which Heyer depicts - it is a sad reality that these attitudes are still with us today - but however historically accurate it may be, this is not an attitude I look for in a romantic hero, and when coupled with arrogance it is - in a word - insufferable.

That Worth feels free to accost Judith at the beginning of the novel - having determined that she will be open to his advances because she is wearing less-than-fashionable clothing, is unaccompanied by a maid, and happens to be passing through a town where a boxing match is to be held - is disgusting. His more reserved behavior once he discovers that she is his ward, I took, not as as evidence of principle, but of hypocrisy. In short: I find Lord Worth one of Heyer's most obnoxious creations, and although I have read Regency Buck a number of times, and enjoy some aspects of the story, I am unable to understand how anyone could find him an appealing character. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 25, 2013 |
This is the first time I have actually read a Georgette Heyer. Long back, I had picked it up and unceremoniously dumped the book since I felt the language was contrived. Actually it was not the language, rather the vocabulary of the Regency period that had made me impatient. I, who does not like to passover any word without knowing exactly what it means. It is precisely this quality that endeared this book to me this time. The period that is weaved in Heyer's words enchants me. I little digging about Heyer revealed - as was also apparent from this book - the research is impeccable. Like Mr Holmes wrote boring, detailed papers about different types of ashes - similarly, Heyer has researched about things like types of snuff/snuff boxes available in Regency era.

To be honest, there was not much by way of plot - it resembles that of a placid MB. Also, much of the twist reader can guess since end is already known. Yet, as they say, pleasure lay in journey rather than the destiny. I am hooked - I will read more of Heyer if only to learn the difference between a tilbury and post-chaise. Such pursuit of trivia is strangely satisfying. :)
( )
  poonamsharma | Apr 6, 2013 |
I've often read remarks by people who say that Georgette Heyer's books are some of their favorite "comfort reads" to which they return over and over.Jane Austen, Patrick O'Brian, and Bernard Cornwell, with an assist from Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (some of her Morland Dynasty series) had pretty well covered the early 19th century for me, so I felt that Heyer would likely remain a closed book. But then I found the Guardian list, 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read, and on it were two of Heyer's books. Wandering through the library, I noticed one of them among the shelves, a well-used copy of Regency Buck, and thought I'd give it a try.
Although it's characterized on the listing in the front matter as a "historical romance" rather than a "thriller," and was in the Guardian's "Love" category, there was definitely an element of suspense and crime in this tale. An orphaned, but very wealthy, brother and sister, Peregrine, 19, and Judith, 20, decide to remove to London from their native Yorkshire. They find that their guardian, thought to be an elderly Earl, is in fact the new Earl, a man of 35. He and our heroine Judith clash from their first meeting. Anyone who has read a few romance novels, no matter what the setting, will at once assume that these two will end up together. But Heyer keeps us guessing -- perhaps the Earl is even worse than he seems? It's certain that *someone* has a plan: to murder Peregrine, thus increasing Judith's already considerable value as an heiress, and then to marry her. Peregrine's engagement and Judith's approaching majority speed events to a climax. The clues are there, but Heyer is a mistress of misdirection and that kept me reading. What tempted me at times to give up (instead, I just skimmed) were the seemingly endless pages of description that did not advance the plot, but rather appeared to be simply showing off the author's research skills. Three full pages describing the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, just at a point in the narrative when the reader wants to know what's going to happen next -- maddening! The excessive descriptions of dresses, hats, and gentlemen's wear, complete with fabrics unknown today, made parts of this book a "page-turner" in quite the wrong way for me.
I wonder if the faithful readers of Heyer also just skim the pages of description and concentrate on the nuggets of plotting and characterization, which are the real gold in this book? That her readers are legion is certainly true based on the copy I read -- purchased in 1966, when the first American edition came out (oddly, as the book was published in England in 1935), it's been checked out at least 10 times in the past 6 years, and has had to be rebound at some point because of heavy use.
I won't be rushing to read another Georgette Heyer, but now I think I can see the attraction. And I've spent some mostly enjoyable hours and checked one more book off my list. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is Georgette Heyer's first story actually set in the regency era . Beautiful heiress Judith Tavener and her younger brother become wards of Julian St John Audley the Earl of Worth. What a great name! The two young people have travelled down to London from Yorkshire planning not to set the world on fire but just to shake the straw out of their hair.

Before long a game is afoot to murder the young Percy. Is the culprit the free spending Lord Worth are there other villains in the family such as a dipsomaniac uncles whose pockets are to let? The book is filled with such interesting turns of phrase which are well researched by Heyer, at heart a historian.

These stores are well worth reading.
( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Newark was left behind and the post-chaise-and-four entered on a stretch of flat country which offered little to attract the eye, or occasion remark.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553024620, Mass Market Paperback)


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:36 -0400)

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"After their father's death, Miss Judith Taverner and her brother Peregrine travel to London to meet their guardian, Lord Worth, expecting an elderly gentleman. To their surprise and utter disgust, their guardian is not much older than they are, doesn't want the office of guardian any more than they want him, and is determined to thwart all their interests and return them to the country. But when Miss Taverner and Peregrine begin to move in the highest social circles, Lord Worth cannot help but entangle himself with his adventuresome wards..."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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