This book brought me unexpected joy! I love period and Regency romances, and having exhausted Austen and the Bronte sisters’ works, I’ve been slowly making my way through Georgette Heyer.
Most of her work is fluffy and fun but not quite ...hm, engaging? But Frederica was a romp, a delight, and emotionally engaging!
Featuring a sarcastic Marquis almost fatally bored with life who enjoys teasing (read: annoying and subverting the demands of) his avaricious sisters, the titular heroine who manages her siblings with spunk and humorous frankness, absolutely hilarious and endearing little brothers, and a very beautiful if vapid (but still sweet!) younger sister who falls for a Regency himbo.
The relationship is a slow burn where the main couple develop a friendship first, and they just so genuinely like each other that it doesn't actually feel like a burn. The Marquis undergoes a wonderful, accidental development as a person, quite literally despite himself. He genuinely can't help but be charmed by Frederica and her siblings. I'd say Frederica reminds me of Anne Elliot if she had a nicer family and Elizabeth Bennet's liveliness.
It's a little slow in its first couple of chapters before it amiably sweeps you along. Every single character was either delightful or amusing, and I loved the sarcasm and teasing and characters saying what they absolutely don't mean half the time.
I also loved the misadventures of the siblings and the crotchety aunt who is supposed to be minding them in London and even the valets and butlers and people they encounter on the street! Literally every single minor character was pretty well fleshed out enough to feel real and also be fun to read about. 10/10 would read again.
I hope it gets made into a film or miniseries, I think it would do great! I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you enjoy Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion (my two fave Austen novels)!
It's so funny, up until almost three quarters of the way in, Angela was my favourite character, and then suddenly it was Alex who was I rooting for and aching for and hoping desperately would escape the situation she ends up in. James, in contrast, was the character I hated the most (not because he was written badly, but because he's such an awful person written so well I couldn't help but to hate him), and then in a masterful few scenes, my feelings for him got so complicated.
(I hereby declare it Hyba's specialty—constructing believable but complex characters you feel strongly about, even if those feelings fluctuate wildly).
And then I got to the conclusion, which completely stole my breath, It was satisfying and cutting and gutting, all at once! I remember shutting my computer and just staring at the empty parking lot of the Starbucks, chilled and out of breath, as if I had been running. Apartment just gripped me so tightly in its thrall, which is fitting, considering that's essentially what the horrible building does to its inhabitants!
When I look back at my notes while reading, a few phrases jump out at me, and I think these will give you a good idea of what you'll be experiencing without spoilers:
All in all, it was an excellent read! So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy and dive into it!
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