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is her funniest book, a tongue-in-cheek parody of what starts as a predictable “plucky innocent reforms a rake” tale.The orphaned Kitty Charing is enamoured of her cousin Jack Westrother, a “devilish handsome out-and-outer of a Corinthian”, but piqued by his failure to turn up when her guardian tells his great-nephews that his fortune goes with her hand.Kitty fancies Jack the cad and coaxes gentle Freddy into a mock engagement so she can pursue him in London.But of course, amidst a flutter of meticulously detailed bonnets and dresses, it all gets horribly complicated – is Jack just after the old man’s ‘roll of soft’ rather than Kitty? The deft narration captures the spirit of this Regency romance which is set, with historical accuracy, in 1816.
Intent on making him jealous – and enjoying the delights of London, Kitty persuades another of the nephews, the Honourable Freddy Stanton, a dandy of some wit and kindness, to pretend to be engaged to her.Her plan would bring her to London on a visit to Freddy’s family and (hopefully) render the elusive Mr Westruther madly jealous. Her funniest book, it is a plucky-innocent-reforms-rake parody, written in her prime in 1953.It features the orphaned Kitty Charing, who is piqued by the “devilish handsome” Jack Westrother’s failure to turn up when her guardian tells his great-nephews that his fortune goes with her hand.Excellent and hilarious twists of fortune ensue, and I defy you to guess the outcome.Clare Wille’s spirited reading makes you appreciate Heyer’s gift for finding the right colourful phrase for every occasion.