This is the second book I have read by Heyer, and I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than The Convenient Marriage. I'm glad I gave Heyer another try. This novel was written much later, in 1965, and takes place in the Regency Era.
Frederica is a young lady who has been taking care of her family ever since her mother died when she was young. She has four younger siblings that she looks after, and now that her younger sister is coming of age, she wants her to be able to experience coming-out in London. In order to help her accomplish this, she contacts a distant relation who she has never met, Lord Alverstoke, and asks for his help. Alverstoke is a confirmed bachelor who is bored by his life, and ends up taking on the challenge mainly to irritate his sister. He succeeds in both launching the Merrivilles into society and causing strife in his family, all of which amuses him. But he had not counted on actually beginning to care for Frederica or her younger brothers, and he must reevaluate much of his life as a result.
I just loved most of the main characters in this book, which was the main problem for me with The Convenient Marriage. Even though the Earl of Rule and Lord Alverstoke share many characteristics, Heyer made me actually like Alverstoke. And Frederica and her two younger brothers, Jessamy and Felix, are just fantastic characters. The social humor is very similar to The Convenient Marriage, and as in that book, the romance does not get resolved until the very final pages of the book. But it was well worth the wait, and a treat of a book in general.