Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (Jan 1 2010)
Beauvallet, originally published in 1929, was my first foray into the world of Georgette Heyer. I have seen her name around the blogging world, along with great reviews of her work, so I had to check her out. Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks and their re-release of it, I was able to review Beauvallet!
We first meet our hero, Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, as he is taking over a ship somewhere near the Caribbean. Also known as Mad Nick, he is not very popular with Spaniards at this time (to say the least) and the ship he is capturing is of Spanish ownership. On board, is the former governor of Santiago and his daughter, Dona Dominica. Beauvallet is immediately smitten but steadfastly rebuked by Dominica, as an enemy to her homeland.
As they venture closer to home, Beauvallet, a man of his word, delivers father and daughter safely to Spain and vows to Dominica that within the year he will come to Spain for her and make her his bride. Needless to say, Dominica has had a change of heart from her initial refusals.
This was a slow starter for me, as you may have seen from my Monday discussions of it, but once I became more accustomed to the language involved, the story began to move quicker and with more excitement. I'll just say that the naval terms had my eyes glaze over more than once, not having any nautical terminology in my personal repertoire, but the term "poop deck" had me giggling every time... but I digress.
I used to watch old black and white movies (when I could find them on TV), and especially loved Errol Flynn movies. Beauvallet brought this all back for me with its swashbuckling but honourable hero and the strong willed woman he was determined to make his own.
As he risks his neck to venture into Spain, he becomes involved in intrigues that bring together historical facts from French, English, Spanish and even Scottish societies. Set during the rein of Elizabeth I (who makes an appearance in the book a few times), this is a fun glimpse into life at the time. There were situations that looked dire for Mad Nick, but he weathered through it all with a laugh and love in his heart. Beauvallet is full of adventure and enough roguish romance to make a girl weak in the knees.