Book: Bath Tangle

Title: Bath Tangle
Author: Georgette Heyer
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 409 pgs

Summary: The Earl of Spenborough has just died, and his only child, daughter Serena Carlow, is devastated. The reading of Lord Spenborough’s will, however, holds a few surprises for stubborn Serena, namely that her inheritance is to be held by a trustee until she marries. But that’s not the worst of it! The trustee is none other than the Marquis of Rotherham, the man she jilted… days before their marriage!

pg 28 – His hands were his only beauty, for they combined strength with shapeliness. Any of the dandy set would have used all manner of arts to show them off: my Lord Rotherham, dug them into his pockets.

pg 218 – Lady Theresa prophesied disaster for all concerned, and hoped that when Serena was dying an old maid she would remember these words, and be sorry. Meanwhile she remained her affectionate aunt, etc.

Why should you read this book?
The voice is quick and sparkling, easy to read. Serena and Rotherham are hilariously clever, stubborn, and have cutting wits. They literally argue for pages; rather than seeming a gross wordiness from Heyer, the tension between the characters is tangible. Both Serena and Rotherham are used to getting their way, to being in charge, which is great. The other characters are eccentric, and all have their own mini-romance subplots, which is something that annoys me about Heyer’s books: Everyone, and I mean everyone, ends up with a romance. Except if you’re a servant, I think. I’ve only read two of Heyer’s books, so I really shouldn’t assume the other 50+ are the same.

I have to say, however, that after reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers I cringed through the first half of Bath Tangle, as Heyer breaks just about every rule for contemporary fiction writing. A lot of her backstory is blatantly thrown into pages worth of dialogue about people I’m not sure I care about; I easily jumped more than one entire conversation in the beginning and didn’t feel like I lost a beat of the plot.