Review 1719: The Nonesuch

Often when I am in the middle of some hefty nonfiction book, I take a break by reading some sort of light fiction. I was reading a biography of Lyndon Johnson when I thought I hadn’t read any Georgette Heyer lately, so I picked The Nonesuch out of my library.

The inhabitants of the village of Oversett are all interested when they hear that Sir Waldo Hawkridge, known as the Nonesuch, has inherited Broom Hall from the miserly Joseph Calver and will be arriving to look it over. The young men are excited to see this notable whip. Up at Staples, kindly Mrs. Underhill is dismayed to learn that Sir Waldo has arrived with a lord, his young cousin Lord Lindeth, for her unprincipled but beautiful ward, Tiffany Wield, has announced that she means to marry into the nobility. Tiffany’s governess/companion, Ancilla Trent, remarks with her customary humor and calmness that they will just have to convince Tiffany she is wasted on anyone under a Marquess.

Lord Lindeth meets Tiffany after she carefully arranges an encounter while he is out fishing. When Waldo sees her and her affect on Lindeth, he is dismayed. However, he is much struck by Ancilla. It is Ancilla who does not have a high opinion of Corinthians, the set to which Waldo belongs.

As usual with Heyer, this novel is full of likeable characters, humor, and an engaging hero and heroine. I tend to like Heyer’s sillier plots best, because they are so funny. This is not one of them, but I enjoyed it very much just the same. A perfect Covid-era lightener. (I re-read it last January.)

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8 thoughts on “Review 1719: The Nonesuch

  1. Helen September 7, 2021 / 2:05 pm

    I’ve read about half of Heyer’s novels, but this is one that I still need to read. I’m looking forward to it, although I usually prefer the funnier ones too.

    • whatmeread September 7, 2021 / 5:26 pm

      It’s funny, just not silly.

  2. Janakay | YouMightAsWellRead September 8, 2021 / 8:14 pm

    I enjoyed your review, as I particularly adore Georgette Heyer! Like you, I tend to read her when I need/want a break from heavier material or, sometimes, when I’m traveling. I haven’t read her mysteries (and didn’t she do some historical fiction) but most of her regency romances I know almost by heart!
    Although I enjoy this one very much, it isn’t my favorite. That honor probably (it has shifted a bit over the years) goes to Cotillion, which is very silly and very funny indeed. Also included in my list of top favorites are The Unknown Ajax, Bath Tangle and These Old Shades (not silly & a bit of a mystery but . . . great atmosphere and characters).

    • whatmeread September 8, 2021 / 11:42 pm

      Cotillion is one of my favorites, too. When I was younger, though, I really liked These Old Shades and its sequel, The Devil’s Cub. I am not as fond of her straight historical fiction, such as My Lord John, because it doesn’t show her sense of humor.

  3. Liz Dexter September 9, 2021 / 3:04 pm

    This is a lovely one, although These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub are still favourites of mine, too! And Sprig Muslin. Always reliable for a palate cleanser.

    • whatmeread September 9, 2021 / 4:30 pm

      Yes, a nice one as well. You have to revisit them, though, because I had The Talisman Ring down as inferior, but then I reread it, and it w as delightful!

  4. historicalfictionisfiction September 21, 2021 / 9:47 am

    “The Talisman Ring” always makes me think of “The Nonesuch.” Eustacie (TR) runs away “to become a governess,” because the handsome elder son ALWAYS marry the governess. And, in “The Nonesuch,” the handsome hero DOES marry the governess. Tiffany i could just murder, but it’s against the law. . .

    “Cotillion” and “the Unknown Ajax,” I think, are my top Georgette Heyers, because there’s so much more going on than the romance. I enjoy all her books–both Regency and mysteries–simply for the absolutely sterling prose; her three-dimensional characters, particularly her secondary characters, and her extraordinary dialogue. (I can think of only one sentence in all her books that’s clumsy. It’s in “The Reluctant Widow,’ and I cringe every time I read/hear it.)

    • whatmeread September 21, 2021 / 10:02 am

      Cotillion is definitely my favorite. I haven’t read The Unknown Ajax for a while, so I’ll have to read it again soon. I have a theory that Heyer tries out some of her characters in novels where they are minor characters and then makes them a major character in another book, and maybe she does that with some of her tropes. For example, there is a minor character very similar to Freddy of Cotillion in another book (can’t think which one right now, maybe Friday’s Child). Of course, I haven’t verified this theory even so far as to check the publication dates to see if she wrote that one before Cotillion!

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