The story is set in Plot summary[ edit ] When the wealthy and eligible Earl of Rule, 35 years old, proposes marriage to Elizabeth Winwood, she resigns herself to marrying against her will to rescue the fortunes of her impoverished family. Her youngest sister Horatia, a 17 year old young woman with a stammer , decides to take matters into her own hands, meeting with the Earl and persuading him to marry her instead of Elizabeth, thus leaving Elizabeth free to marry her true but far less eligible love. Part of the deal she proposes to Rule is that she will not interfere with his activities after their marriage. The wedding takes place and, as tacitly agreed upon, the Earl continues his association with his mistress, Lady Caroline Massey. Horatia quickly becomes a popular and fashionable society wife, spending vast amounts of money on sensational outfits and at gambling on cards.
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Shelves: regency-era-fiction , historical-fiction , geogette-heyer Richard Armitage reading a Georgette Heyer classic! I will confess all up front. I did the unthinkable. I read the complete plot synopsis on Wikipedia before I delved into the first chapter. It will spoil the most enjoyable aspect of this novel surprise! It will spoil the most enjoyable aspect of this novel — surprise! Add in a duel, a sword fight, highway robbery, abduction, switched identities and scandalous behavior, and you are in for comedic high jinxes and uproarious plot twists.
How can she take us on such an outrageously wild ride and make it believable? Handsome and elegant Marcus Drelincourt, Earl of Rule, is comfortable in his bachelorhood. At thirty-five his sister Lady Louisa Quain urges him to marry, suggesting the beautiful Elizabeth Winwood. She is from an aristocratic family of good pedigree but little fortune. With two unmarried younger sisters, prim Charlotte and impulsive Horatia, and their self-indulgent elder brother Pelham about as much help to his family as a rainstorm at a picnic , she must marry well.
Lady Winwood is thrilled when the Earl agrees to marry Elizabeth and save the family from destitution. Seventeen-year old Horatia is not. Horry proposes a marriage of convenience to Lord Rule with the promise that she will not interfere with him after they are married. She does not bring much to the bargain. Intrigued by this young, brave girl, he is tempted and soon sees the logic, agreeing to her proposal. The new Countess of Rule wastes no time in becoming the sensation of the bon ton dressing to the nines, attending parties, the opera, gambling huge sums and getting into all sorts of scrapes while her husband continues to pay attentions to his mistress Lady Caroline Massey.
With patience and fortitude, Lord Rule councils his stubborn young bride against excess and the dangerous liaisons of Baron Robert Lethbridge, a known rake with a history with the Drelincourt family. Determined to teach her husband a lesson for his interference, she defies his wishes attending a masked ball.
Escorted by Lethbridge, he sees their friendship as the perfect opportunity to ruin her reputation and punish Drelincourt for thwarting his elopement with his sister Louisa years before.
Horry tempts Lethbridge with cards, bending his resistance by scandalously agreeing to offer a lock of her hair if he wins. Unbeknownst to Horry, her husband has followed her to the ball, overhears their conversation and intercedes by stepping on her dress and ripping it.
While she is away he disposes of Lethbridge and exchanges his costume with his own. Penitent, she concedes the bet which is met with a stolen kiss. Furious, Horry rushes away running into Lady Caroline Massey who recognizes her. The Earl in turn reveals his charade. Discovering that he has fallen in love with his wife, how will he court and convince her that love is much better than a marriage of convenience?
If Horry had not been an impulsive, stubborn seventeen-year old there would have been little conflict and no story. This delightful romp was made all the more enjoyable by this new audio recording by British stage and screen actor Richard Armitage. This is his third foray into Georgette Heyer for Naxos Audiobooks. His skill at unique characterization and resonant, velvetly voice transports the listener like Cinderella to the Ball.
Unfortunately, once the story ends, so does the enchantment. My solution was to start it again. For me, a new audio recording combining fanciful storyteller Georgette Heyer and the sultry and seductive voice of Richard Armitage is like la petite mort. Hopefully they are not few and far between.
Laurel Ann, Austenprose.
The Convenient Marriage