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.