Lady of Quality by

The elegant travelling carriage which bore Miss Wychwood from her birthplace, on the border of Somerset and Wiltshire, to her home in Bath, proceeded on its way at a decorous pace.
–Georgette Heyer - Lady of Quality - c.1972, 73

ISBN: 033236490

Miss Annis Wychwood is in her late twenties, and as she is still unmarried, she believes her future to hold nothing but remaining single. However she is not about to retreat into the clutches of her brother’s family and become “the spinster aunt”, as much as she loves her sister-in-law, there are some things which simply can not be allowed to happen. So she has set up home in Bath, with an elderly cousin to live with her, for propriety’s sake. On a journey from her brother’s establishment to her own, she comes across a broken down chaise and offers her assistance. The young woman she rescues is most thankful for not being left at the side of the road, but things are about to change in Miss Wychwood’s life, for she is the ward of Mr. Oliver Carleton, and she has run away.

Okay, anyone who has ever read any Georgette Heyer will probably already know that Miss Wychwood shall not remain single. And that she will end up falling madly in love with Carleton, and that they will live happily ever after. But speculation about that aspect of the plot is not why anyone reads Heyer. Instead you read her to enjoy her writing, her characters, and her dialogue. And in all those aspects this book is a success.

Annis is, in many ways, a typical Heyer heroine. She is strong-willed and knows what she wants. Maybe a little “bookish” but she is content with her life. She has had offers of marriage, but she has turned them all down, because she never wanted to settle for a man that maybe she might get along with. And has convinced herself that she will be happy alone. Until Carleton comes along. With rudeness and his reputation, he is not someone that Annis could ever have imagined she would fall in love with. And yet he is her match in many ways. Of course now she has to persuade herself that she wants to give up the single independent life she has created.

And if the two main characters aren’t enough to keep you entertained there are the antics of Lucy, the runaway, and her childhood friend and almost fiancée, Ninian. They may be friends but they definitely do not wish to be married, their families wishes be damned. And there is also the wonderfully irritating Miss Farlow. Another unmarried woman, she is at the far end of the spinster spectrum from Annis.

Other reviews: Austen Prose ; Regency reader ; Semicolon

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8 Responses

  1. Laurel Ann says:

    Thanks for the link to my review on Austenprose. Georgette Heyer is such a treasure. Lady of Quality is one her last novels and not considered one of her best, but even her not so great in comparison to her oeuvre is a delight.
    Laurel Ann´s last blog post ..Bespelling Jane Austen- by Mary Balogh- Colleen Gleason- Susan Krinard and Janet Mullany – A Review

  2. Caroline says:

    This does sound nice. I haven't read any Georgette Heyer yet. I got Devil's Cub but I would like to read this one too. Bath is one of my favourite cities in the world. Always like it as a setting. Strong-willed characters are great. I always pictured the Heyer heroines to be very soft (the covers). Seems as if I was wrong.
    Caroline´s last blog post ..Roger Martin du Gard- Confidence africaine aka African Secret 1931

    • Fence says:

      Supposedly this is very similar to another of hers, but I haven't read it (Black Sheep) so I don't really know. Plus, it doesn't bother me if the plot is the same, cause that isn't why I read her.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Sounds wonderful. I am loving that cover too and guessing it is vintage?
    Kathleen´s last blog post ..Thanksgiving in Hawaii

    • Fence says:

      It is a 1973 edition. I do like the new editions, they are so bright and shiny! but there is something about the older ones that I prefer :)

  4. Anne says:

    Thanks for the link to my review. I love Heyer, and Lady of Quality was such a different plot with a great protagonist/antagonist that I hope readers give it a go!
    Anne´s last blog post ..Julia Quinn- What Happens in London

  5. Coleen Sosa says:

    I really liked this one, although the ending was a little rushed I thought. And yes, even not great Heyer is great :)