Review – The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

reluctant widow


Elinor Rochdale is rather surprised that her new employer is quite rich, and more so at the decayed grandeur of the house to which she is transported. Realizing that there has been a case of mistaken identity, she nevertheless agrees to an audacious plan and is swept into a dangerous adventure. Overnight, Elinor becomes mistress of a ruined estate. By midnight she is a bride, by dawn a widow...



I’ve never before read a Georgette Heyer novel, perhaps because they are usually found within the historical romance section, where I don’t often go. But reading the description of The Reluctant Widow left me desperate to give this author a try. And am I ever glad I did.

As the story begins we are introduced to Elinor Rochdale, a woman whose family has fallen into shame, which has forced her to find employment. Setting out on a journey to her employer’s estate, a mix-up occurs and she finds herself at the home of Eustace Cheviot. But he is at death’s door and it is his cousin who speaks with her of the arrangements. An arrangement that would require her to marry the dying Eustace. Caught off guard Elinor finds herself swept into a mysterious plot to save the family estate and the secrets it holds.

The Reluctant Widow reminds me much of a classic mystery tale, with the plot moving at an increasingly frantic pace, filled with quirky characters and comic mishaps. I found the characters to be the shining spot in this story, especially Elinor. With witty comments and an intelligent yet sarcastic demeanour she displays an independent spirit, not what I expected from a historical heroine. The two main male characters are also extremely likable, Carlyon is charmingly aloof and his younger brother Nicky is a mischievous but lovable pain in the butt.

Georgette Heyer has written a marvellous mystery, that may at times seem obvious, but pulls the reader along with well-placed plot points, humorous dialogue and secondary characters that appear only briefly but leave a lasting impression. I am entirely pleased with my reading of The Reluctant Widow and intend to venture into more of the writings of Georgette Heyer.

About The Author

Georgette Heyer, born in London in 1902, had her first novel published when she was nineteen years old and continued to write novels of many genres for more than fifty years. During that time she never made a public appearance or granted an interview. The great majority of her books are historical romances set in Regency England. They are admired to this day for the meticulous research and profusion of essential ingredients - arranged marriages, murder, fashion, upper classes, sarcasm and humour. Indeed, Heyer set the tone for this entire genre.  When she died in 1974 she had fifty-one titles in print, legal translations of her work in ten languages and pirate editions in several others.

The Definitive Georgette Heyer Fan Website

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't normally read historical romance either, but the back cover of this one sounds really intriguing! I'm glad you liked it.


Anonymous said...

I just got this one yesterday. Thanks for the great review! I'm looking forward to reading it even more now.

Serena said...

thanks for the review...this is also in my TBR pile

Andi said...

I haven't read any of Heyer's novels, but I keep hearing such good things, I guess I need to get off my tookus and try one!

Nymeth said...

You know, I'd never thought of trying Heyer either, but you really made me want to!

Sarah G said...

Like the other commenters, I haven't really thought of trying Heyer, mostly because of the historical romance classification. But your review really makes me want to read this!

Teresa said...

I've been meaning to read some Heyer for ages. This looks like a good one to start with!

naida said...

I'll be reading this one very soon, I cant wait to get to it. I love historicals.
Great review! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Anna said...

Glad to see so many favorable reviews of this one. It's in my TBR pile, and I hope to start it soon.

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