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The Nonesuch    by Georgette Heyer order for
by Georgette Heyer
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2009 (1960)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

It is not surprising that Sir Waldo Hawkridge has been dubbed The Nonesuch. A gentleman endowed with so many enviable attributes, including charm, good looks, and wealth, surely has no need of his eccentric cousin's bequest as well. However, much to the disgust of several of his relatives, Sir Waldo is indeed the heir to what is believed to be a rich estate; even more annoying, he plans to use cousin Joseph's bequest to further his favourite charity.

The Nonesuch arrives at Broom Hall to investigate the condition of his inheritance, accompanied by his young cousin Julian, Lord Lindeth. The arrival of two such stellar gentlemen causes a stir in the quiet country area and raises great expectations in beautiful Tiffany Wield. An heiress who lives with her easy-going and generous aunt, she has seldom been thwarted in any desire. Her undeniable beauty has won the admiration of most of the young people in the community.

Tiffany is the despair of her aunt, who relies on governess-companion Ancilla Trent to curb Tiffany's wilder starts. Ancilla, no fool, relies on Tiffany's self-interest rather than appealing to a better nature that may not exist. Tiffany is determined to enslave both the newcomers. Lindeth is a lord, after all, even if not high-ranking in the peerage. Sir Waldo, although not of the peerage and somewhat afflicted in years (mid-thirties), does hold a stellar position in society. Throw yet another of Waldo's nephews into the mix, this time a veritable Tulip of the Ton (Laurence arrives in hopes of inducing his uncle to lend him money); and you have one of the delightful romps for which Georgette Heyer is justly famed.

Both Waldo and Ancilla have resigned themselves to their single status rather than marrying just because it is expected of them. Naturally, they encounter in each other the ideal romantic partner. Their widely differing social situations is an obstacle Ancilla feels deeply; an additional distraction is young Julian's infatuation with Tiffany. Waldo is dismayed by an entanglement that promises disaster for his good-natured nephew.

Heyer's gift for creating memorable characters is once again evident in this charming Regency novel, enlivened by witty dialogue and amusing plot complications. She also includes a gentle reminder, through Sir Waldo's orphans, that not all lived the privileged life of her characters.

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