Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: April 2011(first published 1957)
Genre: Romance > Historical Romance
” The charm of your society, My Sparrow, lies in not knowing what will you say next – though one rapidly learns to fear the worst! ” – Sylvester Rayne to Phoebe Marlow.
I remember some two years back I was chatting with one of my friends and somehow we got into discussing books and authors wherein I had for the first time discovered the genius that is Georgette Heyer. And never have I been more glad to have been recommended an author before or after. So every once in a while I revisit Ms Heyer and this time around I decided to read Sylvester and boy was I ever glad I did. For I have found very few authors who can write a romance novel convincingly and Heyer is one of them.
I remember reading False Colors, another one of Ms.Heyer’ books which involves a pair of twins like this one, only that dint impress me much. Mistaken identity and the goof-ups that occur from it in case of twins somehow ceases to be funny after a time, whether in literature or in any form of media. But this book dealt with twins in a way which dint revolve on those clichés; a pleasant surprise for me. It rather deals with the instance wherein this connection is severed and of its aftereffects.
Sylvester Rayne, Duke of Salford is a man who though perfectly well-bred and civilized comes across as someone arrogant and completely indifferent to the thoughts and feelings of others. His station in life further makes it impossible for people to rebuff or reprimand him, even when need be. And while Sylvester may be not be aware of his follies he does have a different side. He is a loving son, a caring uncle, a thoughtful man, a dependable friend and a just employer too. After the death of his younger brother, his twin at that, Sylvester stays aloof from most of the people, the only one who sees the softer side of this man is his mother. Sylvester as per his late brother’ will is the sole guardian of his nephew Edmund whose mother Ianthe has decided to remarry. To assure Ianthe, who paints Sylvester as a wicked uncle for all the world, that her son would be cared for and loved post her departure, after her marriage to Nugent Fotherby he decides to marry. When Sylvester’ mother learns of this she gets worried for her son understandably as her son doesn’t wish to marry for love and companionship, rather for his duty and only a girl who is well-born and well-bred are his requisites, though he would like her to have a dash of beauty.
Enter Ms. Phoebe Marlow, a girl who enjoys to spend time in stables, isn’t a celebrated beauty though has a quick wit,and an even quicker tongue. She is an author as well albeit this is only known to her trusted confidants, her governess and her lifelong friend Thomas aka Tom. She is also someone who though free-spirited enough to give a set down to a Duke is a girl who trembles at the mere thought of her step mom. As in usual Heyer style Sylvester finds himself embroiled in Phoebe’ problems out of the blue and the adventure that sets forth is full of hilarity.
Only when things seem to going smoothly does a novel seem to come forth as a roadblock in the budding romance of the couple. A romance novel that takes the ton by the storm penned by Phoebe. The novel has many characters whose parallels are drawn to those Phoebe met or observed in London while on the visit a while back.
Unfortunately her inspiration for a villain is served by Sylvester, a man she barely knew at the time, but found as perfectly arrogant and whose eyebrows seemed to be rather villainous.
I loved Sylvester and Phoebe’ romance. It’s a sweet journey wherein both compliment each other wonderfully. A Duke is seen beyond his station as a girl discovers his vulnerabilities while he provides her with the confidence she so needs. Besides these I adored Edmund, Sylvester’ four year old nephew who could be counted on in many moments of the second half of the novel for trademark Heyer moments. Of course Tom was a wonderful character, someone you would definitely want as your best friend. If you love romances, you definitely should read Georgette Heyer, and. Sylvester for one shouldn’t be missed. I for one know I would have been sorry to have missed this wonderful book. This one definitely goes to my favorites.