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4.7 out of 5 stars132
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2006
Frederica is without doubt my favourite Georgette Heyer novel – and I like her novels very much! What makes Frederica so good? Simply that she has populated this book with wonderful characters, amusing dialogue, interesting historical setting and a love story which is gentle and fulfilling.
The basic plot is that Frederica, a rather managing girl with three brothers and one sister, all younger than her, is attempting to launch her beautiful sister Charis into society so that she can make a good marriage. Frederica enlists the assistance of her sort-of cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke, in this – and he agrees to spite his sisters. Alverstoke is an uncaring, flighty rake who doesn’t do anything for anyone else and is hugely selfish. Through his interaction with Frederica and her two youngest brothers, Jessamy and Felix, Alverstoke is brought out of his state of almost continual boredom and takes real responsibility for his adopted cousins.
The power in this story is the exquisite way in which Heyer portrays her characters. We are shown Alverstoke with all his faults, yet we also get glimpses into what makes him in some ways a good man – for example the honourable and fair way in which he treats his secretary, Charles, and in the way that he takes on responsibilities to his adopted wards in order to lessen some of the load on Frederica’s shoulders. Although Frederica initially comes across as a woman without fault, as the story progresses we see her occasional blindness in dealings with her sister and her eldest brother Harry; Frederica wants Charis to make a good match but Charis doesn’t want that for herself. As the story progresses Alverstoke becomes more responsible, more aware of the needs of others and more aware of the effect he has on them. He takes care to hide his interest in Frederica from society so that she is not teased about it. As for Frederica’s feelings for him, we do not hear much of the story from her point of view but it becomes clear by things that she says that she considers him very important to her… until of course the end of the book when they become engaged and she discovers what it is to be truly in love.
There are many other sub-plots running along in the main story – the romance between Alverstoke’s secretary Charles Trevor and Alverstoke’s cousin Chloë Dauntry is one. The various men who offer marriage to Frederica because they see her qualities and the different way in which they are portrayed is great fun. But the central part of the book – the conversations between Frederica and Alverstoke – are a delight.
This is one of those books that you can read again and again and enjoy even more each time. Heyer has masterfully described the way that a bored rake, Alverstoke, can change his whole nature when he finally finds the right person, the woman who is a conversational match for him; I also think that her ability to gradually unveil the faults in her heroine, small that they may be, is also good – it’s annoying to read books with ‘perfect’ people as they are so unlike us.
Like all Heyer books, the historical setting, dialogue and description of places is perfect. This book is just a fantastic read in so many different ways – buy it!
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on 7 October 2004
Frederica is one of my favourite Georgette Heyers. The love that develops between Alverstoke and Frederica is very moving partly because it seems so unlikely at the outset. He starts out bored and cynical and the description of his increasing involvement with Frederica's delightful but unpredictable family is wonderful, funny and realistic. There is lots of humour and wit, loads of brilliant detail of the sights of London, new fangled inventions such as hot air balloons, steam engines, bicycles. All the characters are believable, very individual and fantastically well described. My favourite funny bit is the Baluchistan Hound bit - read it!
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on 10 January 2003
The Marquis of Alverstoke has seen it all, and he was "without exception," one of "the most selfish, disobliging creatures alive", - then he meets Frederica Merriville.
I loved Frederica as the matriarch of her wonderful family, she struggles, with very little money from her fathers estate, to launch her beautiful younger sister Charis into the full glare of the marriage mart. Along for the ride are her two younger brothers Jessamy and Felix and the rusticated head of the family - Harry. When you mix Baluchistan Hounds with the treachery of the "Pocket Guide" that did not mention the small herd of cows in Green Park with a Pedestrian Curricle, followed by a dash across-country chasing a hot air balloon you can see this has all the ingredients of a true Heyer classic. Even Alverstoke's interfering sisters and brood of nephew's and niece's does not put a damper on the wit, amusement and truly satisfying ending.
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on 13 October 2006
This book combines humour, compassion, crisis and romance with development of character, especially that of the hero. The Marquis of Alverstoke comes across as a complex person: selfish where his family are concerned yet generous to his friends; indulging in numerous amorous relationships yet kind to his secretary. His main characteristic is that he easily gets bored.

Enter Frederica Merriville, the eldest of a family of five. She applies to Alverstoke, a connection of her late father's, to help her launch her sister into society. He agrees and from then on his life is not the same, as he gets increasingly involved with the Merriville family. Not only does he offer Frederica advice and support, but also rescues from scrapes her youngest two brothers, the one studious and the other obsessed by scientific developments. This leads him to re-evaluate his own life.

The story is well-paced and has some very funny moments, as well as the usual romance. I've read the book twice and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. If you have never read a Georgette Heyer novel this would be a good place to start. If you're an avid GH reader:- this has some of the activity and humour of The Grand Sophy, but with the kindness and sensitivity found in Venetia (although the romance is much less developed). I recommend it.
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This book is hilarious, and this is something that is often overlooked about Heyer's writing, but here the sense of comic timing, the real ability to write the most absurd things and have you smiling on every page really lifts this book out of the ordinary.
Frederica is one of Heyer's excellent, strong minded heroines. She never allows herself to be managed or pushed about. She is the one doing all the managing, looking after her raggle taggle siblings, her naughty brothers and irrepressibly hopeless sister she has her hands full. This story is full of surprises, episodes with livestock and hot air balloons spring to mind.
The teasing quality of the relationship between Alverstoke and Frederica really brings the whole thing to life and sets the seal on a romance that you watch unfold with baited breath almost from the first page.
The wonderful thing is that not only do the characters seize your heart from the first moment, but that they are three dimensional and so alive. Both Frederica and Alverstoke grow in maturity and believability throughout the book despite its utter frivolity and silliness. It is just wonderful. I do have to admit that my favourite character of all in this book, in fact, of all the books, is the dog!
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I can vividly remember curled up in front of a fire reading `Frederica' when it was first published in 1965. I tried to ration myself to a chapter at a time but of course I couldn't resist reading it in larger chunks. This is the first time I've read it since and it has stood the test of time extremely well. There is a likeable and down to earth heroine and an interesting hero as well as a large cast of flamboyant and well-drawn characters.

The dialogue flows and the historical background is faultlessly researched. The sub plots are interesting in their own right and the minor characters are well done - especially Charles Trevor the Marquis of Alverstoke's much tried secretary. I think the character who steals the show has to be Felix, Frederica's young brother, who is constantly getting into scrapes and having to be rescued.

If you want to read a light Regency romance written by a master then try `Frederica' - you will not be disappointed. In fact if you haven't read any novels by Georgette Heyer before then this would be a good one to start with.
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Frederica was the first Heyer book I read and I fell in love with it. It has the same effect on me as Pride & Prejudice- the typical, agonising question will they or won't they? U become involved with all the characters, although I do get annoyed sometimes with Charis, the beautiful airhead ( I'm sorry but that's the only way to describe her!) Frederica is as every herione should be: smart, beautiful, witty and charismatic. Lord Alverstoke simply tears your heart to pieces when he does all in his power to help Frederica, believing that he is only doing so because it relieves his boredom and that in no possible way could she feel the same way. It is simply beautiful!
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on 16 January 2000
In the nearing sixty books she has written Georgette Heyer has made the Regency period her own. She writes with such detail and acuracy that one could almost believe that she was there herself. All of her books are witty, enchanting and impossible to put down and Frederica is no exception. From the momment we meet Frederica, and her delightful, though somewhat persistant, brothers, we are captivated by them and truly anxious over their fate. This is one of Heyers best works and one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read.
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on 14 June 2014
If I could give more stars, I would. This book must be one of the most re-read books in my collection. I am a huge fan of Georgette Heyer and love that her books are so easy to read, and yet, amazing in quality.

Frederica has a special place in my heart. It has everything that you would want: humour, wit, a touching romance, and well rounded characters. The secondary characters are well written - it is hard not to love Frederica's brothers: Jessamy and Felix. However, what most stands out for me is the characterisation of Frederica and Alverstoke. I like that Frederica is relatively ordinary in comparison to some of Heyer's other female leads (who can sometimes appear to be impossibly beautiful, smart and witty). Similarly, Alverstoke isn't particularly dashing or handsome; he has mainly been allowed to coast through life because of his wealth. Frederica and Alverstoke are heavily flawed, and yet, despite those flaws, they are perfect for each other. There is no coup de foudre; you really get to see how these two characters slowly fall in love with each other so that by the end, you are heavily invested in their relationship. I reckon modern day romance writers could learn a lot from Heyer..

Modern day romance
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on 6 July 1999
Rich and handsome, the Marquis of Alverstoke won't put himself out for anyone. But then a distant connexion (very fact no connexion at all) asks for his help, and against his will he is plunged into chaos by the Merriville family. Alverstoke is surprised to find himself far from bored. The lovely Charis may be beautiful, but her strong-willed sister, Frederica, seems more concerned with her family than his own distinguished attentions. Meeting Frederica, Harry, Charis, Jessamy and Felix for the first time I was charmed...over the years this has not diminished. Heyer brings regency England to life in all her regency books and in my opinion her prose has never been surpassed. In Frederica, she creates a heroine who is not a wimp by any description and the attraction between her and Alverstoke is understandable and rings true. An extremely well-written book with plenty of witty dialogue, a dog, a hot-air balloon and royal pork jelly to entertain. A definite keeper.
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