Monday, July 7, 2008

Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Venetia has the distinction of being the last Georgette Heyer I read before I had to settle for rereads. And while it is a novel that has all the Heyer trademarks of quality -- a good story, memorable and well developed characters, and a truly sparkling and witty prose style -- it is also somewhat different from most of her other novels, in that, as another reviewer on (bookjunkiereviews) has put it, in that the novel's heroine, Venetia Lanyon, has a rather realistic yet sunny approach to life.

The storyline for Venetia is simplicity itself: the very beautiful, intelligent and sunny natured Venetia Lanyon had long resigned to herself to spinsterhood -- afterall here she was, at the ripe age of twenty-five, living in the country, running her brother Conway's estate, while he was off playing at being a soldier, keeping house for her sickly but brilliant younger brother, Aubrey, and with two improbable country swains as suitors. Enter the roguish Lord Dameral: neighbour of the Lanyons, this rakish and jaded aristocrat is surely the very last person anyone would expect sheltered and virtuous Venetia to become good friends with. But this is exactly what happens much to the consternation of those who love Venetia...

This is a very "grown-up" kind of novel, about the relationship between two adults of very different upbringings and two very different temperaments, from friendship and a sincere admiration to something more (in fact as several other reviewers have already mentioned, the attraction between Venetia and Demeral fairly sizzles and yet there is not one sexually explicit scene! goodness!!). Georgette Heyer does a fantastic job of charting this blossoming relationship from its incipience to the painful parting to the satisfying and triumphant end. And while I'm ashamed to own that I didn't enjoy this charming novel as it so fully deserved all those years ago, I'm happy to relate that I have enjoyed Venetia, more and more with each subsequent read, ever since. I've read a great many romance novels, but I don't think that I've ever read anything quite so romantically satisfying as Venetia.

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