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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Bath Tangle

Author: Georgette Heyer
Originally Published: 1955
Edition Courtney Read Published: 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks
Source: Borrowed

The Story

Bath TangleFrom the bottom of the line:

A Delightful Tangle of Affairs

The Earl of Spenborough had always been noted for his eccentricity. Leaving a widow younger than his own daughter Serena was on thing, but leaving his fortune to the trustee of the Marquis of Rotherham – the one man the same daughter had jilted – was quite another.

When Serena and her lovely young stepmother Fanny decide to move to Bath, Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers an old love. Before long, they’re all entangled in a muddle of marriage and manners the likes of which even Regency Bath has rarely seen.

The Response

Oh, this was deliciously scandalous! One of the more enjoyable Heyer books, by far. I absolutely loved it. One of my coworkers lent this to me after we both declared on Twitter how wonderful Georgette Heyer’s books were. Bath Tangle did not disappoint at all.

This book was written about two thirds into Heyer’s career, which is really evident when you are reading it. A lot of her earlier stuff is awkwardly written, and neither the characters nor plot are well developed. Bath Tangle is definitely superior in those respects.

The first half of the book was a little bit slow, while Heyer was setting the scene and introducing us to the characters and their situations, but when Serena and Fanny get to Bath things quickly pick up. Our characters, while still in mourning, are able to attend smaller gatherings, outings and make appearances at the Pump Room, which of course leads to the introduction of extremely interesting characters and many suitable (as well as some highly unsuitable) men attempting pay addresses to both women.

As far as the characters go, this definitely has some of the most interesting ones. It also has some of the most frustrating ones. I felt that Fanny was undeveloped, and when she did show some personality it was just to berate herself and proclaim to others about how stupid she was. Sigh. Grow some confidence, girl! I rather wanted to shake her and tell her to shut up at times.

Serena was lovely – eccentric, rather headstrong, but lovely. The relationship that she had with Rotherham was really the most wonderful part of the book, in my opinion. Rotherham was moody, and it was rare that he would appear without the two of them getting into a huge argument. It was obvious that not only did they perfectly suit each other, but that both were still in love with the other even though they broke off their engagement previously. It was also obvious that this love was what motivated both throughout the whole book.

Rotherham may actually be my favourite of Heyer’s males since Miles from Black Sheep. That’s pretty high praise.

The story itself was, as expected from a Heyer Regency romance, totally predictable. But it was also utterly delicious! The thing with these books, is that you always know who the main character(s) are going to hook up with as soon as they first show up in the book. It’s always just so exciting to see how they come to realize they are in love, and that moment when they both admit it to the other… ah! Beautiful and wonderful and butterfly-inducing!

The Bottom Line

Definitely thoroughly enjoyable! I’d highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romp through Regency England!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:07 am September 15, 2014.
Category: Historical Fiction
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