The Reluctant Widow by Georgette HeyerThe Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

The Reluctant Widow

byGeorgette Heyer

Paperback | October 1, 2008

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Lively, amusing? done to a turn!" -Kirkus ReviewsA fateful mistake? When Elinor Rochdale boards the wrong coach, she ends up not at her prospective employer's home but at the estate of Eustace Cheviot, a dissipated and ruined young man on the verge of death.A momentous decision? His cousin, Mr Ned Carlyon, persuades Elinor to marry Eustace as a simple business arrangement. By morning, Elinor is a rich widow, but finds herself embroiled with an international spy ring, housebreakers, uninvited guests, and murder. And Mr Carlyon won't let her leave ? What readers are saying about The Reluctant Widow"Delightful and purely entertaining. The plot involves comedy, intrigue, espionage, cloaks and daggers, and things going bump in the night - served with a sauce of witty repartee that is the Heyer hallmark. Unforgettable.""One of my favorites!""A delightfully funny and mysterious romp.""Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen." - Publisher's Weekly"
Georgette Heyer's novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades. English Heritage has awarded Georgette Heyer one of their prestigious Blue Plaques, designating her Wimbledon home as the residence of an important figure in British history. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Blac...
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Title:The Reluctant WidowFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.76 inPublished:October 1, 2008Publisher:SourcebooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1402213514

ISBN - 13:9781402213519

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant book Fantastic book. Lots of action, suspense and romance. Plenty of wit and sharp dialog. Loved it.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Reluctant Widow Having just read Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer and enjoying it enormously I decided to go straight into another read by the author. The Reluctant Widow in comparison has more of a mystery/suspense plot than romance, with the romance only unfolding in the last few pages of the story. It was a good novel though, with great characters and Heyer's ever-present humorous happenings. I was able to reason out some of the plot however which detracted a bit from the enjoyment, so I do not put the The Reluctant Widow on par with Devil's Cub. I used to read gothic romances by Catherine Coulter and Louisa May Alcott (she wrote Gothics under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard and I would recommend the book A Whisper in the Dark for those with interest) and that's what this story sort of reminds me of (excluding the humor of course), only set in the Regency period; the same underlying menace and intriguing male characters who were either foppish dandies or cool observers and female characters a bit too high strung and overwrought. Heyer puts a lot of effort into describing exactly how the clothes, buildings, conversation would have been for the period, as well as each character's voice matching their station in life and ancestry (e.g. we are told that the retainer Barrows talks in a less refined Sussex dialect). An admirable effort.
Date published: 2009-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer I’ve never before read a Georgette Heyer novel, perhaps because they are usually found within the historical romance section, where I don’t often go. But reading the description of The Reluctant Widow left me desperate to give this author a try. And am I ever glad I did. As the story begins we are introduced to Elinor Rochdale, a woman whose family has fallen into shame, which has forced her to find employment. Setting out on a journey to her employer’s estate, a mix-up occurs and she finds herself at the home of Eustace Cheviot. But he is at death’s door and it is his cousin who speaks with her of the arrangements. An arrangement that would require her to marry the dying Eustace. Caught off guard Elinor finds herself swept into a mysterious plot to save the family estate and the secrets it holds. The Reluctant Widow reminds me much of a classic mystery tale, with the plot moving at an increasingly frantic pace, filled with quirky characters and comic mishaps. I found the characters to be the shining spot in this story, especially Elinor. With witty comments and an intelligent yet sarcastic demeanour she displays an independent spirit, not what I expected from a historical heroine. The two main male characters are also extremely likable, Carlyon is charmingly aloof and his younger brother Nicky is a mischievous but lovable pain in the butt. Georgette Heyer has written a marvellous mystery, that may at times seem obvious, but pulls the reader along with well-placed plot points, humorous dialogue and secondary characters that appear only briefly but leave a lasting impression. I am entirely pleased with my reading of The Reluctant Widow and intend to venture into more of the writings of Georgette Heyer.
Date published: 2008-11-17

Read from the Book

It was dusk when the London to Little Hampton stage-coach lurched into the village of Billingshurst, and a cold mist was beginning to creep knee-high over the dimly seen countryside. The coach drew up at an inn, and the steps were let down to enable a passenger to alight. A lady, soberly dressed in a drab-coloured pelisse and a round bonnet without a feather, descended on to the road. While she waited for a corded trunk and a valise to be extricated from the boot, the coachman, finding himself to be some minutes ahead of his time-sheet, hitched up his reins, clambered down from the box, and in defiance of the regulations governing the conduct of stage-coachmen, rolled into the tap-room in search of such stimulant as would enable him to accomplish the remainder of the journey without endangering an apparently enfeebled constitution.The passenger, meanwhile, stood in the roadway with her trunk at her feet, and looked about her in a little uncertainty. She was expecting to be met, but as her experience had taught her that the gig was more commonly employed for the purpose of picking up the new governess than the carriage used by her employers, she hesitated to approach the only conveyance she could perceive, which was a light travelling coach, drawn up on the opposite side of the road. While she stood looking about her, however, a servant jumped down from the box, and came up to her, touching his hat, and enquiring whether she would be the young lady who had come down from London in answer to the advertisement. Upon her assenting, he made her a little bow, picked up the valise, and led the way across the road to the travelling coach. She stepped up into it, her spirits insensibly rising at this unlooked-for-attention to her comfort; and was further gratified by the servant's spreading a rug over her knees and expressing the hope that she would not feel chilled by the evening air. The steps were put up, the door shut, the trunk bestowed on the roof, and in a very few moments the coach moved forward, bowling along in a well-sprung manner that formed a pleasing contrast to the jolting the stage-coach passenger had been enduring for several hours.She leaned back against the squabs with a sigh of relief. The stage had been crowded, and her journey an uncomfortable one. She wondered whether she would ever become accustomed to the disagreeable economies of poverty. Since she had had every opportunity of inuring herself to these over a period of six years, it seemed unlikely. Dispirited, but determined not to give way to melancholy reflections, she turned her thoughts away from the evils of her situation, and tried instead to speculate upon the probable character of her new post.It had been with no high hopes that she had set out from London earlier in the day. Her employer, seen once only in a quelling interview at Fenton's Hotel, had disclosed no hint of the kindly impulse that must have caused her to send her own carriage to meet the governess. Miss Elinor Rochdale had been misled into thinking her massive bosom as hard as her rather prominent eyes, and, had any other choice offered, would have had no hesitation in declining a post in her household. But no other choice had offered. There were too often young gentlemen at a susceptible age in families requiring a governess, and Miss Rochdale was too young and too well-favoured to be eligible, in the eyes of most provident Mamas, for the position.Happily, however ? for Miss Rochdale's savings were negligible, and her pride still too great to allow of her remaining longer as the guest of her own old governess ? Mrs Macclesfield's only male offspring was a sturdy lad of seven. He was, by his mother's account, high-spirited, and of so sensitive a temperament that the exercise of the greatest tact and persuasion was necessary to control his activities. Six years earlier, Miss Rochdale would have shrunk from the horrors so clearly in store for her, but those years had taught her that the ideal situation was rarely to be found, and that where there was no spoiled child to make the governess's life a burden, she would in all likelihood be expected to save her employer's purse by performing the menial tasks generally allotted to the second housemaid.Miss Rochdale tucked the rug more closely round her legs. A thick sheepskin mat upon the floor of the coach protected her feet from the draught, and she snuggled them into it gratefully, almost able to fancy herself once more Miss Rochdale of Feldenhall, travelling in her father's carriage to an evening party. The style of servant who had been sent to fetch her, and the elegance of the equipage, had a little surprised her: she had not supposed Mrs Macclesfield to have been in such comfortable circumstances. Upon first perceiving the coach, she had thought she had seen a crest upon the door-panel, but in the failing light it was easy to be mistaken. She fell to pondering the probable degree of gentility of the establishment ahead of her, and the various characters of its inmates, and since she was of a humorous turn of mind, soon lost herself in the weaving of several very improbable histories.