Georgette Heyer’s April Lady is the last re-issue by Sourcebooks of Heyer’s novels. (The very last is Pistols for Two, a collection of short stories.) Originally published in 1957, it is comfortably set within the Regency period that she had made her own. The setting is London, and the plot involves money, love, misunderstanding, gambling, debt, and, ultimately, a famous heirloom, the Cardross necklace.
Lady Helen Irvine, the daughter of an improvident peer who has wasted most of his patrimony through addiction to gambling and high living, has been fortunate enough to marry the Earl of Cardross, an extremely wealthy nobleman some dozen years older than she is. A very dutiful daughter, she had previously faced the unappetizing prospect of being married off to a wealthy city merchant in order to repair the family fortunes, but the unexpected offer from Lord Cardross saved her from this fate.
Nell did not know just what Cardross had done to earn her parents’ gratitude. It all came under the vague title of Settlements, and she was not to bother her pretty head over it, but to take care always to conduct herself with dignity and discretion. Mama, declaring herself to be deeply thankful, had made it quite plain to her what her duty henceforward would be. It included such things as always showing my lord an amiable countenance, and never embarrassing him by asking ill-bred questions, or appearing to be aware of it if (perhaps) he was found to have formed a Connection outside the walls of that splendid house of his in Grosvenor Square. ‘One thing I am sure of,’ had said Mama, fondly patting Nell’s hand, ‘and that is that he will treat you with the greatest consideration! His manners, too, are so particuarly good that I am persuaded you will never have cause to complain of the sort of neglect, or — or indifferent civility, which is the lot of so many females in your situation. I assure you, my love, there is nothing more mortifying than to be married to a man who lets it be seen that his affections are elsewhere engaged.’ Continue reading “April Lady, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”