The Talisman Ring -- Georgette Heyer
Deep breath and GO!: Sir Tristram Shield is called to the death bed of his Great Uncle Sylvester who tells him that he must marry his French cousin Eustacie because she can't go back to France due to the Revolution and he wants to be sure she is cared for and really Greaat Uncle Sylvester would rather that she marry his heir Ludovic but Ludovic is on the run for murdering a guy a few years back so Sylvester figured that Tristram is better than nothing and he's way more trustworthy in Sylvester's opinion than the dandified Beau Lavenham, who is next in line for the title after Ludovic (oxygen break):
Each at first glance felt moderately pleased with the other, a complacent mood which lasted for perhaps ten minutes, at the end of which time Sir Tristram was contemplating with grim misgiving the prospect of encountering vivacity at the breakfast-table for the rest of his life, and Eustacie was wondering whether her betrothed was capable of uttering anything but the most damping of monosyllables.
Deep breath and GO!: But it's very clear that Tristram and Eustacie will not be a good match so she runs away to be a governess because according to every book she's ever read governesses always end up marrying the handsome young son of the household and because she wants to have adventures and have adventures she does because almost immediately after running away from Lavenham Court she is captured by smugglers one of whom just so happens to be her cousin Ludovic who claims that he is in fact not at all guilty of the murder but that someone framed him all those years ago. WHEW.
And that doesn't even introduce Miss Thane, who, upon hearing of the mystery and adventure, immediately decides to join in the fun -- and who seems happiest when harassing poor, serious Sir Tristram. You can read the bit where they meetat Georgette-Heyer.com.
I did think that The Talisman Ring was a tad too long, but overall I loved it. It was totally silly and predictable with absolutely zero substance, but in a good way, and it made me laugh out loud again and again and again. It was like cotton candy, but since it was well-written and charming, I decided that it was some magical cotton candy that isn't at all bad for you.
Eustacie was hilarious and adorable and a bit of an idiot, Ludovic was the perfect match for her as he was also hilarious and adorable and a bit of an idiot, Sir Tristram, of course, had much more of a sense of humor than the other characters give him credit for, except of course for Miss Thane who knows that he's awesome from minute one. The best thing about this one, not surprisingly, was not in the plot (as I said, extremely silly) or the character development (there really wasn't any), but in the interactions between the characters. And, actually, like the secondary characters The Devil's Cub, the characters in this one enjoyed their adventures so much that their enthusiasm rubbed off on me.
The Alastair Trilogy
1. These Old Shades
2. The Devil's Cub
3. An Infamous Army -- The characters in Regency Buck are major players in this one, but Regency Buck comes first. I read them out of order, sadly.
Connected to The Alastair Trilogy: