Another one of my Heyer Regency romance favorites. The Marquis of Alverstoke never knew what hit him when he encountered the Merrivilles when they requested his sponsorship into the Ton. One of the sisters, Charis, is an incomparable Beauty causing quizzing glasses and jaws alike to drop while the other sister, Frederica, considers herself past a marriageable age. The two brothers with them are too young to be bothered about going into Society and just young enough to engage in all sorts of mischief from which Alverstoke finds himself rescuing them.
You can’t help but love the boys. Felix, the youngest, is absolutely fascinated by machinery of any kind and, after having been abjured from plaguing Cousin Alverstoke into taking him to see pneumatic lifts at the foundry, promises that he is only asking. As for Jessamy, torn between his books and not wanting to be outdone in the fearless stakes by his little brother, Jessamy gets pulled into the disaster of the Pedestrian Curricle. Alverstoke assures him that getting into scrapes will make him a much more understanding cleric than if he were to be a saint by 16.
Frederica has dragged them all to London as she can’t bear the idea of Charis not having a London season; she’s too beautiful to waste on a country lad and Frederica wants her to marry someone warm enough to ensure she doesn’t have to make and scrape. Unfortunately, Charis has no ambition and too much modesty to understand the draw of her beauty besides being a beautiful peagoose. Alverstoke is bored with life and has undertaken the sponsorship simply to annoy his sisters but soon finds himself caught up in their lives; he particularly wants to remove all cares from Frederica’s shoulders.
It’s a lively story with terrific characters and the opportunity to explore the state of the science and medicine in the early 1800s in England. Needless to say, Heyer is brilliant in imbuing her characters with personality with both dialog and content accurate for the time period while her descriptions of the mores, styles, and culture of Regency England are also true to form.