Beauvallet: Gossip, scandal and an unforgettable Regency romance
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The endpaper and frontispiece of the American first edition of Beauvallet published in February1930.
Altogether the story and characters were a little thin for a book, but it would make a terrific film. If Heyer is channeling a slangy Austen in her Georgian/Regency romances, I would posit that she was attempting to channel the bard himself for Beauvallet. Our born under a Venus-Jupiter conjunction hero goes full guns blazing after Dominica, but the romance is too early Hollywood flat for me.Joshua brings a needed comic touch into the suspense; he is quite garrulous, by turns complainer and braggart. Beauvallet is set during the reign of Elizabeth I, when England was in conflict with Spain and Sir Francis Drake ruled the seas. The opening naval battle and ship-boarding bears a great resemblance to the opening scenes of Flynn's 1940 film 'The Sea Hawk'. Henceforward Sir Nicholas must engineer his escape with his chosen bride while avoiding the clutch of the Inquisition, or imprisonment as a spy, and the jealous intrigues of Dominica's other suitors. This is just one way it differs from Heyer's usual Regency era tales, another being that it's about a hero traveling into enemy territory to claim his love.
Binding sound, some spine lean and dulling to cloth, spine ends and hinges shelfworn with minor fraying at corners.The first part of the book unfolds the romance, and the second half follows Beauvallet as he attempts to keeps his word to find Dominica and bring her to England. It has all the improbable circumstances and well-known character-types that one would expect in a work of this genre, but for all that, it is well-paced and engaging. Still, there were good characterizations, (I will admit to laughing at the greedy, but totally honest about it, aunt), and the swashbuckling was great.