April Lady by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I expected this book to be a light, Victorian-style romance novel. It was light and it was Victorian - the ton and everything, but it wasn't exactly your typical romance novel. The heroine was sought out when she was a young thing by an older, wealthy, well-established man, Giles Cardross. According to her mother, she was to be his "show" wife because he had a mistress. So, Nell, the young wife, went about doing all the things a young wife was supposed to do in Victorian England - she went to parties and bought expensive gowns for each one, etc., etc. In due course, she racked up extensive debts. Nell's brother, Dysart, was a dandy and gambled to excess. Nell lent him some money which she did not want Cardross to find out about. When Nell's debts were brought to his attention, he reprimanded her a little, then paid them all, or so he thought. Nell got a letter from her dressmaker asking for payment of yet another bill. Since she had lent Dysart money, she didn't have any more funds to pay the bill and she didn't want to tell her husband because she didn't want him to think she married him for his money because she really did love him. The rest of the novel is about how Nell and Dysart go about coming up with a scheme to pay the dressmaker's bill without Cardross finding out about it. Also, Nell's sister-in-law, Letty, lives with them and contributes her own part to this comedy. She is young and in love with a man with no position who is about to go off to Brazil to work for the ambassador. Letty wants to marry him in the worst way, but Cardross won't hear of it. She whines and cries and has hyterics which has no affect on Cardross. Then she comes up with a fantastic scheme at the climax of the book. I enjoyed this book very much. It was a nice change to read something funny and entertaining, but light.