Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
Not a typical Regency romance but still wonderful
on 22 August 2008
This was never one of my favourite Heyer's when I first started reading her books, probably because I was looking for romance, and in this book that element very much takes a back seat. I re-read it recently on holiday however and really enjoyed it for completely different reasons. The story mainly focuses on Gilly (the Duke of Sale) who is fed up with being molly coddled by his many doting retainers and protective relatives. Our hero is far from your traditional tall, dark and handsome alpha heros but is 'below average height', slightly delicate and very gentle with a 'sweet disposition'. He is reluctant to hurt the feelings of those who have his interests so much at heart but is totally fed up with being thwarted every time he tries to assert himself by all the well-meaning busy bodies who surround him. He decides he'd like to see what it's like to be just plain Mr Dash from Nowhere and his cousin Matthew gives him the opportunity. Matthew has become entangled with a very dodgy character who claims to be the guardian of the blindingly beautiful but extremely dim-witted Belinda (the Foundling of the title). The adventures Gilly encounters as plain Mr Rufford are what makes this book so charming and so enjoyable. He becomes involved with a runaway school boy, various colourful rogues, highway men and inn-keepers, he gets captured, escapes and manages to fend for himself very well in the end. As usual there is loads of wonderful detail and plenty of funny moments. They wind up in Bath where Gilly enlists the help of his betrothed (who he proposes to at the beginning of the book at the suggestion of his uncle who has virtually arranged the match). His Harriet is the perfect match for him, shy and gentle but with a strong core and the whole muddled, complicated plot comes out happily in the end. Of course. If you are looking for passionate romance this is not for you but if you love Heyer, her insights into Regency life, her humour and originality this one is definitely worth reading.