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She had just decided not to seem to be in too great a hurry to introduce Charles, when his voice said in her ear "Who is that?"

Nothing, thought Judith, could have been more opportune! Lucy was by far too unaffected to have purposely placed herself beside a plain young female in a dress of a particularly harsh puce, but the effect could not have been more advantageous. How right she had been to advise the child to wear her white satin! It was no wonder that she had caught Charles' eye. She replied in a careless tone: "Oh, that is a young friend of mine, a Miss Devenish."

"Will you present me?"

"Why, certainly! She is pretty, is she not?"

"Pretty!" repeated the Colonel. "She is the loveliest creature I ever beheld in my life!"

Prejudiced as Judith was in Miss Devenish's favour, this encomium seemed to be to her somewhat exaggerated. Charles sounded quite serious, too: in fact, oddly serious. She turned her head, and found to her suprise that he was not looking in Miss Devenish's direction, but towards the big double doorway.

"Why, Charles, whom can you be staring at?" she began, but broke off as her gaze followed his. It was quite obvious whom Colonel Audley was staring at. He was staring at a vision in palest green satin draped in a cloud of silver net. The Lady Barbara Childe had arrived, and was standing directly beneath a huge chandelier, just inside the ballroom. The candlelight touched her hair with fire, and made the emerald spray she wore in it gleam vividly. The heavy folds of satin clung to her form, and clearly revealed the long, lovely line of a leg, a little advanced beyond its fellow. Shoulders and breast were bare, if you ignored a scarf of silver net, which (thought Lady Worth) was easily done. Any woman would have agreed that the bodice of the wretched creature's gown was cut indecently low, while as for petticoats, Lady Worth for one would have owned herself surprised to learn that Barbara was wearing as much as a stitch beneath her satin and her net.

A glance at Colonel Audley's face was enough to inform her that this disgraceful circumstance was not likely to weigh with him as it should.
-Georgette Heyer, An Infamous Army
And, of course, it weighs not an ounce through the 450+ pages of this epic historical romance. I confess, when the Sourcebooks publicist asked if we'd be interested in a book by the Queen of Regency Romance, I didn't leap at the notion. But a little research googling that Ms Heyer was renowned for the quantity and quality of the research she did and this novel happens to revolve around not just the rambunctious courtship of Lady Barbara and her Colonel but around Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo. Indeed, the Author's Note claims that the words spoken by the Duke in the book are mostly taken verbatim from his own writings. Whether that's strictly true or not, battle takes up as much of the action of the text as romance, if not more, and, therefore, it will more than satisfy both the history buff and the romantic and greatly please those who combine the two passions. If it's not quite Sharon Kay Penman, it's a close run thing.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

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See also:

Georgette Heyer (2 books reviewed)
Historical Fiction
Georgette Heyer Links:

    -Georgette Heyer Website
    -WIKIPEDIA: Georgette Heyer
    -The Romantic Novels of Georgette Heyer (BBC)
    - GEORGETTE HEYER: the Queen of Regency Fiction (TomFolio)
    -BOOK SITE: An Infamous Army (SourceBooks)
    -BOOK SITE: Friday's Child
    -WIKIPEDIA: Friday's Child
    -Georgette Heyer (kirjasto)
    -ESSAY: The Influence of Georgette Heyer (Tracy Grant, Secrets of a Lady)
    -ESSAY: An Appreciation of Georgette Heyer (Jay Dixon, Historical Novel Society)
    -ARCHIVES: Georgette Heyer (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of An Infamous Army (Whitney Mallenby, Rambles)
    -REVIEW: of Infamous Army (Historical Tapestry)
    -REVIEW: of Infamous Army ( Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Break of Day in the Trenches)
    -REVIEW: of Friday's Child (Brandy, BlogCritics)

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