Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review: False Colours by Georgette Heyer

Book Description:
A missing twin
Something is very wrong, and the Honourable Christopher "Kit" Fancot can sense it. Kit returns to London on leave from the diplomatic service to find that his twin brother Evelyn has disappeared and his extravagant mother's debts have mounted alarmingly.

A quick-minded heiress
The Fancot family's fortunes are riding on Evelyn's marriage to the self-possessed Cressy Stavely, and her formidable grandmother's approval of the match. If Evelyn fails to meet the Dowager Lady Stavely in a few days as planned, the betrothal could be off.

A fortune in the balance
When the incorrigible Lady Fancot persuades her son to impersonate his twin (just for one night, she promises) the masquerade sets off a tangled sequence of events that engage Kit's heart far more deeply than he'd ever anticipated with his brother's fiancée-who might know much more about what's going on than she cares to reveal...

My thoughts:
I saw False Colours by Georgette Heyer sitting on my "To be Read" Shelfari shelf. I didn't even realize until I finished the book that I also had it on my The Classics Club list.

False Colours is a screwball comedy in print.  In the beginning we meet the hero:

As for Kit Fancot, at four-and-twenty he was a well built young man, slightly above the average height, with good shoulders, and an excellent leg for the prevailing fashion of skin-tight pantaloons. p.11

Then we meet his lovable, well-meaning, but extremely ditsy mama, Lady Denville, who has an odd idea of how to run her finances:

"I have frequently tried to cultivate habits of economy, but I don't seem to have the knack of it... And the dreadful thing is, Kit! that such habits only lead to waste!...I assure you, the instant you begin to practise economy you will find yourself spending far more than ever you did before you embarked on such a ruinous course!" pp. 15-16

Against his better judgement, Kit agrees to pretend he is his twin brother, Evelyn, and thus begins a chain of events that seem to have no solution until the author wraps it up at the end in a tidy knot.

Though this won't end up as a favorite Heyer novel for me, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed Kit's character and his intended fiance, Cressy. As for Kit's twin brother, Evelyn, I found him kind of obnoxious and not quite as likable has his brother. His redeeming quality was his sacrifice he was willing to make for his mama and his respect for his brother. And then there is Lady Denville who defies all logic and causes chaos, but manages to beautifully rise to the occasion when you least expect it.

But the character who gave this book life was Sir Bonamy Ripple, who is a great admirer of Lady Denville and has tried for years to persuade her to marry him.

Owing to the height and rigidity of his collar-points, and the depth of his Oriental Tie, Sir Bonamy could neither shake his head, nor nod it. When he wished to signify assent he was obliged to incline the upper part of his body in a stately manner which frequently exercised an unnerving effect upon strangers already awed by his size and magnificence. p. 88

I found some of the conversations in this book at times a little mind whirling. Of course, if I could read in a British accent it would make it all the clearer! Here is a conversation between Kit and the valet, Fimber.

"Never mind my dowdy rig! said Kit. "What the devil is my brother doing?"

"I don't know any more than you do, sir, and it's got me all of a twitter! It might be that he went off in one of his distempered freaks, and yet I don't think it, somehow. My lady will have told you that he's in a way to become buckled?"

"She did, but he has never so much as give me a hint of it," replied Kit grimly. Something  brummish about the business! Well, if anyone knows the truth you do, so tell it to me, without any hiding of the teeth! Is he turning short about?" p. 47

You got that, right? I think Heyer really shines in all of dialogue whether using slang, being witty, or serious. She truly is a genius in this area.

Another great read to mark off for my The Classics Club reading list. False Colours will fit the bill if your in need of a fun read and especially if you enjoy Georgette Heyer.

If you have a Kindle, Amazon has this for a great price!


  1. I've never read a Georgette Heyer novel, but your review tempts me!

  2. I loved Bonamy Ripple today. That bit when he realizes he is inveigled into marriage one of the most hilarious bits in the book.

    Lovely review.

  3. my comment, today should actually read as "too". Sorry about that.

  4. I've never read Heyer either, but this sounds fun! -Sarah

  5. Hi there, there is a collection of book links happening right now at Carole's Chatter. This time we are collecting links to posts about your favourite historical fiction. Here is the link Your Favourite Historical Fiction Please do pop by and link in – maybe this one? Have a lovely day.



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