Venetia Lanyon has never been out in London society, and at twenty-five years of age she is almost on the shelf. After the death of her mother, her reclusive father kept the family tethered to the country estate, and after the death of her father, the role of managing the estate fell upon Venetia–at least, until her brother Conway can come home from his stint in the army and take his place as master of the house. Her scholarly brother Aubrey, a cripple determined to overcome his disability, provides her some company, and the golden-haired beauty has two country beaux besieging her peace day in and day out–but she still longs for the time when she can navigate the mysteries of the ton and see the world for herself.
Lord Damerel, a rake so notorious that even his title fails to make him a good catch, owns an estate nearby the Lanyon home. He rarely visits, and when he does, virtuous maidens like Venetia are careful to stay indoors. But when Damerel enters the neighborhood unannounced, he surprises Venetia out berry-picking alone and–being an unprincipled rake–steals a kiss from the beautiful damsel. Although Venetia is enraged by his audacity (and perhaps, slightly intrigued) circumstances conspire to throw the two together again. Aubrey is thrown from his horse on Damerel’s land, and Venetia rushes to Damerel’s home to tend her injured brother without any thought for her reputation.
Damerel, however, does take thought for it, and with Aubrey’s nurse to safely chaperone them, Venetia and the ineligible lord spend hours in rapt conversation, finding each other kindred spirits and becoming fast friends. Although Damerel has darker intentions in mind at first, he soon discovers that he has fallen desperately in love with Venetia. But when his checkered past keeps him from proposing to such an innocent, it is up to Venetia to convince him that she could do far worse than marry a reformed rake.
As always, Georgette Heyer’s regency romances provide an evening’s entertainment that rivals the best chick flicks. This is my second time reading Venetia, and although it still does not rank in the my top three Heyer faves, I must say that I enjoyed it even more than the first time I read it.