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The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

Published in 1959
ISBN: 0-373-81090-3

Rating: Liked it. (4/5)

Apparently, I have wonderful self-control, or so says one of my bosses who heard that I own all of Heyer's Regencies but have not read them all. Yes, it's true: I parcel them out as treats. Once I've read the last one, that's it. It's not like Heyer is going to come back from the dead and write more.

That said, The Unknown Ajax, fun at it is, won't number among my favourites. Despite some lovely dialogue 'twixt the hero and heroine, the plot never really seemed to take off.

I suppose part of the reason is that the plot deals with smuggling. Since I recently read Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, which dealt with a darker version of smuggling (the Wreckers), The Unknown Ajax seemed too tame by comparison. Also, I didn't like that the hero seemed opposed to smuggling, and even ridicules people who call it a victimless crime, then decides to sacrifice his beliefs when a family member is found to be peripherally involved. (Perhaps that's an indication of the bad state of many of my familial relationships.)

I'll continue to agree with my boss, the best include Cotillion, False Colours and the Alastair novels.




( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
I love Heyer, but "Unknown Ajax" isn't of my favorite either. I did like the fact that that hero isn't a typical Regency rake, but like you I never thought the plot "sang" the way a lot of hers do. And the attitude toward the smuggling bothered me too. I remember it bothering my mom even more (we read the book outloud when I was about twelve and mostly reading to myself, but we'd still read a book outloud together for fun).

Which of the Heyers that you've read have you enjoyed?

Jun. 10th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
I think with Heyer, it's not a matter of which I've enjoyed, but only which I've enjoyed most.

Though I find it amusing to note that the first I read was The Nonesuch, bought at the Greyhound terminal before a three hour bus trip back to university. When I got off, I went straight home to finish it. At the time, I was so very impressed, but now her others have made it pale in comparison.

Just goes to show, even the lesser Heyers are better than average.

Freddy will always make me love Cotillion, the heroine of Regency Buck shares my legal first name, so I must adore it. Bath Tangle. And, of course, These Old Shades and Devil's Cub -- also An Infamous Army, though that one to a lesser extent as Heyer tends to slip into her "historical" voice at times.
Jun. 10th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
So agree about even the lesser Heyers being better than average. I think my three favorites are "An Infamous Army," "The Grand Sophy," and "Venetia." I also love "These Old Shades" (though the class stuff bothers me more as I get older) and "Devil's Cub" (though I'm more inclined to tell Vidal "Oh, grow up" as I get older :-).
Jun. 9th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
I agree on you other favourites, but I will always love The Unknown Ajax because it is so very funny.

Also, Lady Aurelia makes me so very happy...
Jun. 10th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
I agree. Even when she's not-so-good, she's still pretty-darn-good.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )