Another modern Heyer novel. Instead of the Thorn is a modern romance written in 1923 and set about the same time. Like the recently reviewed Barren Corn, this one's about a mis-matched marriage. Elizabeth Arden is a sheltered young woman brought up by a spinster aunt in a Victorian dreamland; when she ventures out into the wide, wide, world, she's completely unprepared for the people and relationships she encounters. Stephen, an older man and a respected novelist, woes her and she agrees to marry him, imagining herself in love. Tragedy ensues, as she's completely unable to appreciate his habits and friends and is ferchristsake's, like, 19! Duh!
Sorry. At least this book doesn't end with her committing suicide. Elizabeth is shocked and appalled by sexual relations (that's the clear implication) and slowly begins to slough off her carefully built facade, learning about herself and the world as she goes.
It was refreshing to read a real romance that doesn't end with the beginning of the relationship. Life does not end at the altar! So there! Some of the advice Elizabeth got about male/female relations from the 'wise, motherly figure' jarred my funny-feminist bone, but that's just me being anachronistic. I can expect no better from a book written in 1923.
Note: The heroine is actually named Elizabeth Arden. I looked up the history of Elizabeth Arden spas to see if there was a connection. Elizabeth Arden was a real person, and she opened her first salon in Paris in 1922. Maybe Georgette Heyer walked by it and the name caught her eye.....