Sir Richard, looking ahead to a loveless marriage, stumbles upon a young Penelope Creed escaping out of her bedroom window one evening. Pen has disguised herself as a boy and is planning on escaping to her country home, and even though Sir Richard is extremely inebriated, he knows that a girl her age should not be traipsing around the countryside on her own. And so, he decides that he simply must accompany her.
Of course, there are all sorts of crazy hijinks that ensue – the stage coach gets turned over, they come into close contact with a thief, a friend of Sir Richard’s gets murdered, and Pen is convinced that her aunt will come chasing after her to take her back and force her to marry Pen’s cousin.
And of course, as with any of Heyer’s regency books, there is a dash of adorable and delicious romance.
Rachel and I read this together and then decided to blog about it together.
Courtney: I haven’t read any Georgette Heyer in a while and I’m always pleasantly surprised by her books when I pick them up just because of how fun they are. I found The Corinthian to be a lot more fun than some of the others I’ve read just because of the crazy hijinks that were involved – girls dressed as boys getting into scrapes, murder, theft, running away in the middle of the night, oh joy! What a great escapist novel, and how perfect for the February blahs. You’ve been devouring your way through her books – how did you find this one compared to the others that you’ve read?
Courtney: Yes, she does tongue in cheek very well. One thing that I noticed with this book is how much the quality of her writing improved from earlier books – this one is about 20 years into her career as a novelist, and you can really tell the difference. There’s more depth, more maturity in the writing (not necessarily the content, but certainly the writing style), etc. That’s one thing that is so much more noticeable when you can pick and choose your way through an author’s whole catalogue of books, as opposed to having to wait for the next one to be released.
Courtney: I just had to look up “verisimilitude.” Google tells me that it is “the quality of seeming to be true or real.” But I can really see how this applies to The Corinthian. It does appear that she knows a lot of what is going on in the regency period, and it is sometimes surprising (in the case of this book, for example) to realize that she didn’t experience it herself. While this was a fun romp, it still does touch on some of the issues that would have been relevant at that point in time – specifically expectations of women who spent unchaperoned time with men, the difficulties families face with financial issues, and the necessity of women to make a good marriage. As much as I love reading regency books, I really don’t think I’d want to live in a time where it was depended on me to marry well just so I could secure my family’s financial stability!
Courtney: Well, that plus he was completely smashed when he came across her attempting to run away in the first place. That might have had something to do with it, haha. I love the relationship that Penn and Sir Richard have right from the beginning in this book – she’s adventurous and naïve, and he is amused by her and knows that she needs protection in her wild and crazy schemes. I love that she puts him in situations he doesn’t feel comfortable with at all (hello, stagecoach?) and that he lets her do this. And that he goes out of her way to protect her without caging her in or patronizing her for her naïveté.
Courtney: Mmm. I was just watching The Wedding Date last night and he is in it. He would definitely be able to pull off the rogue aspect, and we’ve already seen him in that same sort of time period in Pirates of the Caribbean. He could pull off being Sir Richard. What about Penn?
Courtney: Is that Sally Sparrow? She looks a bit old for the role… I don’t know too many young females in acting, so this part is a little hard for me. What about Alexa Vega or Eliza Bennett? Actually, Eliza Bennett probably looks a little bit too young. Oh, what about Rachel Hurd-Wood? She’s rather adorable.
Courtney: Yeah, I remember thinking that quite a bit when I read her name in the credits for Inkheart! Oh, Jennifer Ehle is such a wonderful actress. And Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, mmm… Anyway! Tangent! I hate to say this, but I think if they were to make a movie out of this, it would actually be better as a 2 hour movie than a 4 hour miniseries. As much as was going on, it felt like not everything was necessarily needed to make this a good story. Not that it dragged on, but it just wasn’t all that important to furthering character development or pushing the story to a climax – like the meeting between Penn’s aunt and Sir. Richard.
Penn’s aunt! Sir Richard! How Lady Catherine de Bourgh-esque was that pivotal moment. Good God Georgette Heyer! You’re like mango gelato. You are the sweetest confection in the world. And you ruin me for real life…. And so do your men with their boots and cravats and eye glasses hanging from dainty chains!
Back to Jack Davenport ( because isn’t that just the best segway??? ) he has a delicious voice. I have a feeling Sir Richard would have a delicious voice.
Courtney: He really does have a delicious voice. And I imagine Sir Richard would too, especially when he is amused at Penn. And Jack Davenport could totally pull off Sir Richard’s bored attitude that seems to intimidate those he doesn’t care a fig about. Mmm, I totally want to rewatch all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies now, darn it!
What did you think of all the secondary characters? I loved me the thief they met in the stage coach. He was a lot of fun.
Courtney: The sister’s husband?
Courtney: Yeah, he was pretty awesome. They were all mostly awesome; in fact, there were only two characters that I DIDN’T like – Penn’s childhood friend (again, the name is not coming to mind) and the girl he’s in love with. I have no patience for silly little people like them. I was especially aggravated when whats-her-name told her father that she met Penn for a romantic rendezvous instead of whats-his-name. This girl came across as being way too flakey, and I have no stomach for characters like that.
Before I start going on a rant, I need to change the subject.
How about the last moment when Penn and Sir Richard finally both admit and realize that the other is in love with them? It is up there with the awesome endings of Rilla of Ingleside and North & South, as far as my favourites go.
I really enjoyed the ending and the discovery of love which, really, when you think about it had been there since Sir Richard first saw Penn—all inebriated and blurry and cleaned her up and whisked her away.…..
Courtney: Oh, he obviously loved her from the beginning. And she was in love with him from that point too even though she didn’t realize it until later. But all-in-all a satisfying end to a good book then. Yay!
The Bottom Line
Read this book. Reeeaaad it!