MERRIE by Grace South


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Light-hearted Regency romance with a shuttlecock plot, set in an 1811 London of damasked drawing rooms at the top of the ton. Among the residents and guests at the home of thin-witted but delightful Lady Pen and her former rake-hell husband Jason: pretty Meredith, the iron orphan, gloweringly in thrall to her equally unbending guardian, icy ""Mephisto,"" the Duke of Denham; divinely irresponsible and handsome Ninian, whom Meredith intends to marry; Meredith's Aunt Tayce, a gray, acerbic, constantly scribbling post-Revolution French aristocrat; evil Lord Randolph and his pitiful wife, Gabrielle; Lady Pen's nice twin, Lord Camden; a ""platter-faced"" husband-hunter, Lady Fanny Allingham, who's determined to have Ninian; and the mysterious Lady Sara Cainneach from Ireland, imported by Mephisto to prepare Meredith for launching into society. Secrets abound: there's much about disastrous past affairs of heart and purse, some unexpected blood relationships, and scandals involving a gaming house and even a prostitute. Aunt Tayce has the most sinister secret of all, and before she's popped into Newgate, Meredith and Lady Sara will just barely escape death while Lord Randolph, happily for Gabrielle, will not. Three pairings at the close preserve the Regency convention and cap the airy, perhaps over-intricate, pother: a first novel kept afloat by humor and high spirits.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday