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Sprig Muslin (2005)

Sprig Muslin (2005)

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3.03 of 5 Votes: 4
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0099476355 (ISBN13: 9780099476351)

About book Sprig Muslin (2005)

4.5 stars*Beware of spoilers if you don't already know who ends up with whom!* I have the unfortunate habit of reading book reviews before or at the beginning of the book I am reading. Usually with Regency romances that is not a big deal as the couples are always so predictable, but with Sprig Muslin had I not known prior to starting, how it would end, I would have been surprised!The hero of this novel is Sir Gareth Ludlow, and there is no doubt whatsoever about that. He is in all likeliness the most "perfect" kind of hero I ever read about; tall, handsome, rich, fashionable, well-liked, admired, and respected, lively sense of humour and impeccable manners. Everybody loves him. Except Amanda.Amanda is a young sixteen year-old who has established a plan of campaign which constitutes of running away from home in order for her grandfather to capitulate to her marrying a Brigade-Major. She hopes of becoming a chamber-maid or some such thing, to that her grandfather will have pity on her and permit her to marry. What a lovely plan. ;)Only, Sir Gareth encounters her alone in an inn, and perfect gentleman that he is, feels honour bound to restore her to her family. Hence ensues hilarious confusions and entanglements, as Amanda keeps running away from Sir Gareth and claiming to everyone that he is abducting her. Moreover, matters are further complicated when Sir Gareth sees no choice but to bring Amanda with him to Brancaster Park, residence of the Earl of Bracaster and his sensible daughter Hester, whom Sir Gareth hopes to marry. Awesome. So now it looks like Sir Gareth has abducted a lovely piece of muslin, just as he was about to offer a very respectable marriage of convenience to the Lady Hester!Next, everyone who meets Amanda wants to help her escape from Sir Gareth, who is in reality the only one who is truly trying to help her. Then the story takes an interesting turn at the point where I'm sure he would've just abandoned her saying "Getting real tired of your ish Amanda!" and the last third of the book is really good.I expected to hate Amanda. I thought she would be a Tiffany Wield kind of girl (from Heyer's The Nonesuch), but she had none of Tiffany' conceit and arrogance, and beneath her bold, adventurous façade she was very sweet and intelligent. Being very innocent and inexperienced, she did a lot of foolish things, but she also had a great presence of mind in dangerous situations. Now, what is a bit puzzling is that Amanda is a central character in the book, yet she cannot really be considered the heroine, since she doesn't end up with the hero. If Lady Hester hadn't been a character, Amanda and Sir Gareth would've probably made a match of it. As one read the story, one feels that Amanda and Gareth wouldn't exactly be the best matched couple, because for one thing he's 35 and she's only 16. Yet, in Heyer's The Corinthian for example, which has a similar setting (Regency Corinthian aged 35 needs to marry and have an heir, etc..) Sir Richard and Pen do end up together, and the reader is made to believe that it is a good match! Granted, Sir Gareth and Sir Richard might have been very similar, but I must say that Pen was a bit less of a goose than Amanda, even though they were both running away and both wanted to have silly romantic adventures.Instead, Sir Gareth comes to love Lady Hester, who was such an amazing woman that it is too bad she didn't have a bigger role in the story. At first, she refuses to marry Sir Gareth because she has been secretly in love with him for years, and does not wish to marry him based simply on mutual respect and tolerance (which he feels for her at the beginning). Unfortunately, their romance only blossoms between the lines. We never really know how or why Sir Gareth comes to love her, be we are just happy for them both because they both deserve to be happy, as they were such awesome, perfectly nice characters. The kind that just has to have a happy ending. " 'When I asked you at Brancaster I held you in affection and esteem, but I believed I could never be in love again. I was wrong. Will you marry me, my dear and last love?' "4.5 stars because not as awesome as my favourites These Old Shades or Devil's Cub, but no less because so darn hilarious and fun, featuring a set of ridiculously embarrassing relatives, rude landladies and funny people trying to help Amanda! Sprig Muslin is a very sweet, funny, engaging and sunny book, perfect when you need a good laugh!

This review first appeared on Babblings of a Bookworm: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot....I first read this years ago, when, as a teen, I gobbled up the works of Georgette Heyer one after another but Sprig Muslin was a book I’d never re-read because it didn’t grab me the first time. I was persuaded that it was worth a re-read and here are my thoughts on it.Sir Gareth Ludlow is considering marriage. This is due to his brother’s death, as without Sir Gareth having children the Ludlow family name will die out. Sir Gareth suffered heartbreak 7 years ago when the lady to whom he was betrothed died. The headstrong Miss Clarissa Lincombe stole his horses after he told her not to drive them, and ended up with a broken neck. Sir Gareth hasn’t fallen in love again and doesn’t believe that he can. So instead he has decided to offer marriage to 29 year old Lady Hester Theale, a lady who he has been friends with for a long time. He feels Lady Hester is amiable, well-bred, and won’t object to a loveless marriage, unlike the romantic young ladies that his sister keeps introducing to him.Lady Hester’s father, when the marriage was first discussed with him, obviously jumped at the chance of arranging a brilliant marriage for Hester, and he invites Sir Gareth to the family home without first discerning Lady Hester’s feelings on the matter. The news is completely unexpected:“He is coming, Hester, to make you an offer!”“Oh, is he?” she said vaguely, adding after a thoughtful moment: “Does he want me to sell him one of Juno’s pups?”When Lady Hester realises the type of proposal Sir Gareth has in mind she flatly refuses to marry him. Her home situation isn’t good, as she is generally unappreciated, her brother and sister in law, with whom she lives aren’t congenial companions to her, and she is used by her married sisters as a drudge when she goes to visit them. On the other hand she knows that Sir Gareth is a true gentleman and would treat her well. Why then, does she react to news of the impending proposal like this?‘The Lady Hester, once her maid was dismissed, the candles blown out, and the curtains drawn round the bed, buried her face in the pillow and cried herself quietly to sleep.’Not knowing he faces a refusal, Sir Gareth travels to Lady Hester’s home. En route he meets a very beautiful young lady in difficulties. The lady is clearly running away from home. Sir Gareth’s conscience won’t allow him to abandon her, and she won’t tell him her real name, so he has no other option than to trick Miss Amanda ‘Smith’ into accompanying him to visit Hester. He believes Hester will believe the truth, as obviously turning up to make a marriage proposal with a beautiful young girl in tow wouldn’t bode well for his prospects. But Amanda is determined not to be caught, and she leads Sir Gareth on an adventure which includes telling many lies and having to save Amanda from an aging roué, besotted farmer and a young knight in shining armour and even ends up involving Lady Hester in the ensuing tangle.Georgette Heyer is known as the queen of Regency romances and rightly so, unlike many authors in the genre there is nothing in her writing that jumps out at the average reader as being erroneous or too modern. There is usually a lot of humour and sparkling dialogue in Heyer’s books, and this one is no exception. Sir Gareth is a lovely hero, he is such a gentleman. Some people like their rakes but I prefer a proper gentleman any day of the week! Amanda is a very spirited character, which can sometimes be tiresome, but I liked her, and wished her success in the aim of her ‘campaign’, though she was so naive that I couldn’t help but wish Sir Gareth well in keeping her under control, she had no idea of the danger her behaviour put her in. Lady Hester was such a sweet lady, I felt quite bad for her situation. I really enjoyed this book but I can see why my teenage self wasn’t taken with it; the romance is such a small part of it. It’s very much in the background and hinted at rather than plainly in sight, but I’d still recommend reading it.

Do You like book Sprig Muslin (2005)?

This remains one of my very favorite Georgette Heyer romances. Sir Gareth is such a delight as he struggles with Amanda's exploits. Their repartee is fantastic without even hinting that they should end up together (thank heavens, I like Hester so much better than the explosively willful ingénue). And Hester is such an intriguing character as well. Her sly humor buried under her meek exterior has some truly fine moments even early on, before we've gotten to know how intolerable her situation really is—and how much worse off she would be married to the man she loves if he doesn't also love her (even if that man is Sir Gareth). All of the secondary characters fit their respective roles well, from Hildebrand as invalid support to Lady Widmore's gauche raillery. It all adds up to a delightful read with a very satisfying resolution.
—Jacob Proffitt

Sir Gareth Ludlow is on his way to propose to Lady Hester Theale, a spinster of nearly thirty. He doesn't love her, his heart belongs to his late fiance, but he esteems and respects Hester. Most importantly, he wants to free her from her horrible family. Hester is of the opinion that Gareth's first fiance was a little too headstrong and spoiled for him and he deserves someone better. She secretly holds a tendre for him but isn't sure she can marry without love. Along the way, Sir Gareth discovers a teenage runaway, Amanda "Smith," a spoiled, headstrong girl who gets herself into one major scrape after another. What is there to do but bring her along to Lady Hester? There, Hester's family forms the most erroneous opinions of both Garry and Amanda, causing even more commotion, leading Gary on a wild goose chase. Will he ever find Amanda? Will he discover who she really is and make her return home? Will Hester agree to marry him?I enjoyed this book much more on the reread. It's still not my favorite but knowing the ending really helped my enjoyment. Hester is hardly in the story at all. She disappears in the beginning and reappears towards the end. I wish there was more development of her story because I liked her. It was nice to see how she grew. I liked Gary for his chivalry and his sense of humor. If I were Hester I would have married him out of convenience. I still think Amanda is ditzy and annoying, but she adds a lot of humor to the story. She's downright crazy in her ideas she steals from trashy novels, yet she's so innocent, she doesn't realize what she's doing or why it's wrong. I did not like her character development at all. Just as she becomes more sensible, she still has moments of insanity. I actively disliked how she became around Neil. I found him abusive and frighting. I liked Hildebrand much better. (view spoiler)[If I had my way, Amanda would have her Season under the sponsorship of Lady Hester. She needs to marry someone more like Garry who can handle her with sensitivity and humor. I see her reconnecting with Hildebrand when they're both more mature. I think they could be a fun couple. (hide spoiler)]

Seven years after losing the love of his life to death, well-admired Corinthian Sir Gareth Ludlow is ready to find a wife. Not for love, mind you. Love isn't likely to strike his heart again, but because it is his duty and responsibility to settle down and produce an heir. Lady Hester Thale is quiet, sensible, a steady friend and long on the shelf at age 29. Surely she will be more then happy to escape her domineering family and settle for placid security with her friend Gareth. But Gareth doesn't account for the fact that spinster Hester has nursed a secret, and won't settle for anything less then love, even if it means turning down one of the most eligible members of the ton, and the love of her life.Had Georgette Heyer delivered a tale of how Gareth woos, loses, and eventually wins Hester's heart, I know I would have given this story 4 or 5 stars. Problem is, in a book 18 chapters long, Heyer only accords the story of Gareth & Hester approximately 2 chapters near the beginning and exactly 4 chapters at the very end. The bulk of the story rests in the (frankly) boring tale of a young, silly, annoying miss by the name of Amanda. Sir Gareth meets the beautiful girl in route to pay his addresses to Lady Hester. She is alone, a runaway, and trying to keep her identity a secret. Gareth, a kind man, is unwilling to let the girl get herself into any trouble, and takes it upon himself to protect her from her folly and return her to her family. Problem is, Amanda refuses to reveal who she is and where she came from.And so, for over 150 pages, the reader is treated not to a story about Gareth and Hester, but to a romp and farce about the exploits of Amanda and all the mayhem and trouble she continually gets herself and Sir Gareth into. Readers who particularly enjoy this type of silly, coltish Heyer heroine, and a more mad-cap escapade storyline will probably like this book alot. Personally, neither one does as much for me, so I spent a good long time being bored, exasperated and ready to fling Amanda and her exploits off the page and get back to what I felt was the main story (Hester and Gareth). It wasn't until Chapter 15 that the tale really took off for me, and Heyer partially redeemed herself (and the story) with an absolutely brilliant final 3 chapters. It had farce, it had humor, and it almost, almost, made up for the previous annoying two-thirdsthat came before it.Almost. Hence the 3 star rating.This book had its moments, but isn't destined to become one of my favorites. Thanks go to my buddy read partners Leslie and Jeannette for encouraging me with their comments to persist with it. Luckily, they were speedier readers, and gave me hope that the story would turn the corner and get better.

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