The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer

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First published in 1936, Georgette Heyer's The Talisman Ring is a story built around a MacGuffin, with a theatrical setting and a highly mannered cast of characters. It's a tribute to the author's skill that she manages to transform such a slight, silly confection of a story into one of her most endearing books.

Engaged pair Eustacie and Sir Tristam are not well-suited to one another. Neither desire the match, but when Eustacie realizes that her betrothed has no taste for melodrama (he's not even impressed by her frequent daydreams about how romantic her death scene would have been, had she remained in France during the Revolution!), she decides to run away. She immediately meets her true love: her dashing cousin Ludovic, who was banished from England after being accused of murder. When Ludovic is injured, Eustacie decides it's past time to clear his name, and enlists her new friend Sarah Thane (a level headed woman with a lively sense of humor) and the reluctant Sir Tristam (who finds them all equally ridiculous) to her cause.

The Talisman Ring is a far cry from the quiet, thoughtful A Civil Contract, or even the livelier but still semi-realistic Cotillion or The Unknown Ajax. This is all humor and action sequences (held together by a series of far-fetched coincidences), with just enough romance to qualify for the genre. If you're a Heyer newbie, this is a great place to start—clever, exciting, and shamelessly fun.
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Posted by: Julianka

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