I was running late this week and sat down to finally finish this book last night and it was so GOOD. So very very good. Y’all should read it, especially if you struggled a bit at the opening. It gets better. And then you can picture Sid M. as the hero and Pari as the heroine and be happy.
Questions for those of you who read it:
Do you also picture Kitty as not stunningly pretty? Heyer’s heroines are usually super pretty or super beautiful or at least have striking eyes or something. But with Kitty, they mention her having a larger stronger figure, looking pretty enough when she is dressed well with proper hair, and generally being pitied as unmarriageable before her make over and no more than modestly appealing after it. I liked that, she isn’t an ugly duckling turned into a swan, she is a nice young woman who has a fair idea of her own attractiveness and is closer to “average” than “special”.
Do you think Heyer herself knew where this story was going to go? I don’t think she did. There are a few books where it feels like Heyer changed plot plans/heroes halfway through. I suspect Heyer started her writing by having a firm idea of who her heroine is and the heroine’s starting problem, and then everything else just develops naturally as it occurs to her. I think she came up with the idea of the 4 eligible nephews but might have expected the reverend or Jack to become the hero, not Freddy.
Did Freddy get too smart as the book went on? I think he came close to a magical transformation, but just barely missed it. We had the very early scene where he was thinking about a cover story for the inn before it had occurred to Kitty. And a few other indications that when his back was to the wall, he could think. The point of the book was that responsibility for Kitty challenged him like that all the time and he got to practice being smart.
Did anyone else have a hard time getting through the first half and then it was easy going? I think it might be because it was my first time reading, so I was worried about where it was going and what was going to happen. And then once I was into it, I saw that it was just going to be light stuff happening and it all working out.
How cool was the love story happening in the background? I really loved how it was structured, Kitty is torn between her crush on Jack and growing affection for Freddy, Freddy doesn’t even see what is happening to him for a long time, and somehow by the end they both fully understand their feelings and figure it out long after everyone around them.
Is Jack a bad person? I think ultimately it is that he is selfish. Heyer is the Queen of the “charming rake” character. But the point is that the character is introduced as a worthless rake, and then we learn he is kind and caring to his sister, he gives money to orphanages, he helps his friends, anything to show that he is ultimately a good person. That’s the appealing bit, the rake with the secret kindness only a special woman can see. In Jack, she ended up writing a rake with no real kindness in him.
Now, most importantly:
Freddy: Sid M.
Jack: ARK? Varun Dhawan?
Dolph: Kunaal Roy Kapur
Hannah Plimstock: Swara Bhaskar
Olivia: Kiara Advani
Camille: Vicky Kaushal
Plot can be basically the same, our heroine lives out in the country with her stingy guardian who plans for her to marry one of his nephews and keep the money in the family. She has a crush on ARK, the flirty favorite nephew. But then he doesn’t come to the family gathering so in desperation she begs nice dim Sid M to propose instead so she can go to the city with him. Sid M does it because he is nice and takes her to Bombay to stay with his nice well off big family and enjoys buying her nice clothes and taking her to fun parties and things. In Bombay she meets a distant cousin Vicky Kaushal and befriends a beautiful young woman Kiara Advani. Sid M quickly realizes that Vicky Kaushal is a con man and Kiara Advani is a naach girl. Pari also befriends their joint relative, the very rich but very dim Kunaal Roy Kapur and learns he is secretly in love with a nice sensible lower class woman who wants to take care of him. Pari introduces Vicky and Kiara and they fall in love, and helps KRK and Kiara meet and fall in love. She also interacts with ARK and starts to fall out of love with him and increasingly appreciate Sid M’s kindness. But the fake engagement situation makes it impossible, she assumes all his kindness is out of pity and feels guilty, he assumes she wants gracefully out of the relationship and he should let her go.
Have you read Anna Karenina?
No, is it similar to this somehow?
It is a complexly woven novel, telling the stories of two people that are remotely connected by familial ties. The main plot revolves around an affair.
I skipped the post to say I still haven’t finished it, hoping to be back with something meaningful once I have.
I will look forward!
On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 9:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Hiya! So glad you took the time to read and write up this post … 🙂 Thank you!!
I was so afraid as I was reading the novel the first time that Kitty would end up with Jake… That’s typically how Heyer ends right, and I don’t really like her “rakes” nor the enormous age difference between the hero and heroine that’s so common in her writing… So, I was dreadfully pleased with the ending! 😀 I’d have liked the Freddy-Kitty love story to have a tad more detail, but all good, will take what I get.
I also found the initial chapters slow going… But on rereads I’ve found them very humourous, now that I know the characters already!! I also liked that Freddy and Kitty changed for the better, but not tooo much, so overall, I thought the plot just rang both fun and (well, as much is possible in regency era fiction) true 😀
Yes! Freddy got more responsible and a little smarter. Kitty got a little more worldly-wise and less impulsive. But Freddy stayed a little silly and superficial and slightly slow witted. And Kitty stayed a bit quick to leap into things and a little unaware of the world.
Do you agree with Sid M and Pari?
On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 9:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Ahhhh… I’m not sure actually. Freddy and Kitty struck me as really young in the book, .. Pari and Sid strike me as who they’ll be in their 30s. But then again I can’t think of good quite young (18-29) Hindi actors for this story. Maybe some one from south… Kalyani Priyadarshan and Kalidas, I’ve seen together in some anthology movie and maybe they could be a counter proposal 🙂
I think Sanya Malhotra could probably pull it off. But not sure who opposite her.
Wait wait! What about Kriti and Rajkummar? The whole plot is kind of like Bareilly Ki Barfi anyway. Rajkummar could be a silly sweet dandy, Kriti could be a tough not traditionally attractive country girl, and Ayushmann could be the ladies man we think she will end up with but then realize he is kind of a jerk!
On Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 8:41 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Yay! +100, I think you’ve nailed it!!
Don’t forget the other characters – like the handsome but humorless reverend – perhaps played by Southern Sid. And Freddy’s bemused father (I ADORED his reactions) could be played by Aamir Khan with Sushmita Sen as his pretty airhead of a wife. And, for the real romance at the heart of the book….the crotchety uncle is played by Shahrukh Khan (Having entirely too much fun doing it.) And the ditsy governess has to be Kajol, at her ditsiest..
Juhi! The governess has gotta be Juhi.
Otherwise, I like all your casting.
On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 12:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
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JUST finished. I will give the author credit, she wrote a book that rather than making me want to skip towards the end to see what happens made we want to keep reading to see how she was going to resolve this. Jack was obviously too terrible a person to be the one Kitty ended up with, and Freddy was gay. Before the middle I hoping that she and Freddy would marry, as they would be happier together than most people simply based on their good and open friendship. And if one of them did fall in love maybe they could work through it together. When the author had Kitty first put her hand to Freddy’s face I saw where it was going and was a bit disappointed, because I could not magically turn gay Freddy straight in my head.
Why did I think Freddy was gay? I’m sure his love of clothes played into it, though other characters loved clothes and it didn’t cause me to pin down their sexuality. No I thought he was gay because right away he treated Kitty as a full person, an equal, in a society where men rarely saw women as true humans. He said he wasn’t interested in petticoats, and indeed never showed even the smallest amount of sexual urges until the final kiss, which was well, a bit lackluster. He was experienced with women due to his sisters. His looks and personality described him as a bit of a mama’s boy. I can assume that Freddy didn’t know he was gay, and I can assume that he was terribly fond of Kitty, but I have a hard time believing an adult male who has never felt sexual urges towards women is actually heterosexual. So Sid would be a great Freddy. Parineeti is a bit more boisterous than I imagined Kitty, but she wouldn’t be terrible. Their friendship chemistry is great, and Freddy and Kitty had great friendship chemistry.
I had the hardest time with the first chapter, I re-read bits multiple times to remember who said what and who was who. But then it seared into my head, which was useful. I was honestly getting annoyed with the second half of the book, as it was well established that Jack not only sucked, but was actually a bad person, and party after party it didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere. It could also be that my environment (a bright, treeless skate park) wasn’t conducive to Regency stories. I was two pages from the end when the 9 year old hurt himself thus I couldn’t actually finish the book till we had then had lunch and driven the hour home… that probably didn’t help the kiss dynamics.
It was a fun book, and enjoyable read. But the lack of sexual chemistry was the book’s big flaw.
Absolutely Freddy was gay! When I was in the beginning of the book I kept thinking of rom-coms with the Gay Best Friend and how similar it felt. But I can also believe sexuality is a continuum and for whatever reason, he was able to feel attraction to Kitty that he had felt for no other woman. It does happen. And it would explain the book, that Freddy never felt male-female feelings in his life and treated women with courtesy but no specialness, instead sublimating any desire into clothing. Somehow spending time with Kitty opens him up to feeling desire for a woman for the first time, maybe because he got to dress her? So his two passions combined? Or just because she was who she was?
I think in our movie version, we could create the chemistry more easily than it appears on the page. Make them friends, and then start scattering in moments when they are looking at each other without the other noticing the look and so on and so forth.
On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 6:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Film, with eye glances and little touches could definitely create better chemistry than the starting words!
OH, personalitywise, AA would make a great Jack! And he would make him more likeable (whithout changing a single line or action) than the book. And that would be good. It was hard to understand how Kitty could have ever had a crush on the Jack in the book.