by Georgette Heyer
Unscathed by the wars, Gervase Frant finally returns to his father's estate to claim his rightful title. Now he must establish himself as the new head of the house and ignore his family's rising hostility.
First things first: I listened to an unabridged audiobook version of this novel (narrated by Cornelius Garret). This is only the second of Heyer's Regency novels that I've read (the first was Regency Buck).
For some reason, I find myself hesitant to start Heyer's Regency novels. I'm not sure why... I enjoyed this one well enough. In fact, I think I liked it better than Regency Buck. That novel may have been wittier, but there was a little too much "other stuff" (architecture, fighting, racing) for my tastes, and I didn't particularly like the heroine.
In this book, I liked the heroine very well-- and the hero, too, though I'll never understand the appeal of the dandy. A bit too "metrosexual" for me. I like men to be clean and well-dressed, sure, but it's a turn-off if a man cares too much about his own appearance. (Actually, I don't identify with women who obsess over fashion, either. There are just so many more interesting things to think about and do.)
I was surprised that this turned out to be more of a mystery than a romance. (Come to think of it, Regency Buck also had a mystery. Maybe all of Heyer's novels are "mystery with a dash of romance" rather than "ROMANCE".) That said, the mystery was very lightweight. I had guessed the culprit before long-- but that didn't diminish my interest in the story.
The romance was also lightweight. By a certain point, you just know which lady will end up with Gervase, but you kind of have to read between the lines (well, more like "catch wildly at wisps of thin air") to build up any romantic tension at all. Still, I was satisfied when the "right" characters ended up together, so I guess the romantic element did its job.
I listened to The Quiet Gentleman while piecing together quilt blocks, which made the hobby even more entertaining!