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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Powder and Patch

Author: Georgette Heyer
Originally Published: 1923
Edition Courtney Read Published: 1968
Publisher: Pan Books Ltd
Source: Purchased

The Story

Powder and PatchFrom the back of the book:

‘I do not want a raw country bumpkin’ she had said cruelly – and even his father had called him ‘a damned dull dog.’

So Philip set horse for Paris – where he proved an apt pupil in the art of trifling elegantly, and in the use of powder and patch.

But Philip was no painted puppet – though he might look like one – and he returned bent on teaching Miss Cleone a lesson.

The Response

Every so often, I get an extreme and intense craving, no a need to pick up and read one of Georgette Heyer’s books. A few weeks ago, I picked up a couple of her books at a used book store and put them away for the next time this need arose.

I found Powder and Patch to be a lot shorter, and a quicker read than most of Heyer’s other books. It was an utterly amusing read, and I spent a good portion of time giggling out loud. What I liked best was how well here was able to communicate both what disdain Philip felt about who he was becoming, and what a joke he felt it to be.

Powder and Patch takes place a little bit earlier than Heyer’s other books, and I think this really shows through in the fashion that the characters wear (and are obsessed with). Either that, or because of Philip’s own transformation, we get a much better perspective of this than we have through any of her other books. While I don’t particularly care about reading about what colour a man’s trousers are, or how long it takes him to powder his face every day (my goodness, it’s so much more often that we read women fussing over this stuff!), Heer was able to do it in a way that was surprisingly entertaining.

One problem going into these types of books, however, is always the way that women view themselves. I mean really, the fact that women tell themselves, each other, and men, that women are clueless and need a man to make decisions for them… it can be a little frustrating for a feminist to read this. I know that times were different then, and women WERE dependent on men, but it can still be horribly aggravating to see women see themselves in this way.

The Bottom Line

A cute read. Not one of her best books, but still entertaining.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:08 am December 10, 2013.
Category: Historical Fiction
Book Author(s):

  • Kelly Rogers

    I should make it a goal to read Heyer in 2014. I seem to be missing out. What should I start with?

  • Courtney Wilson

    Yes, do it! I would recommend Black Sheep – that one is my favourite of hers!