"A lady of Quality" by Georgette Heyer
Georgette Heyer is the queen of romances and this is another delightful story from her.
Georgette Heyer's stories are funny even if the situations are exaggerating and witty to the extreme with the most unpleasant characters one might give. Whenever one talks of a romance, the story goes somewhat like the principle characters hate each other and quarrel with each other and during this quarrel, they somehow unknowingly fall in love and end up marrying one another. So, nothing much different in this one either.
Annis is 29 and is beyond the age of receiving marriage proposals and has left all hope of ever being in love but she is extremely beautiful and by no means poor and lives independently. On a journey from her brother's place back to her own house, she comes across a cribbing pair of young couple named Lucilla and Ninian who had their carriage wheel broken and offers them help. In the evening, she comes to know of the whole story which goes somewhat like this. Lucilla and Ninian are childhood friends and now are being forced into marrying each other. None of them want that and consequently, Lucilla thinks its best to run away from her home. Hearing this, Annis takes the girl under her protection and offers to provide for her till someone turns up to take her back. Annis sends a letter to Lucilla's aunt (maternal aunt who is her guardian) through Ninian and tells about her plans. Consequently, Lucilla's much abhored paternal uncle comes searching for her and he is supposed to be the rudest man anyone ever encountered. And, this uncle fights with Annis in the succeeding drama and ultimately falls in love with her and offers for her and is accepted.
I may have given a gist but the story is much more detailed with many characters coming into picture and all their traits laid down nicely and succinctly. It is definitely an enjoyable coffee table read.
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