Yes, I still want to be Venetia when I grow up. Sigh.

If you recall, we left off last week with Venetia making a shocking call on Damerel at his bachelor home without any chaperon.

In chapter 15, Heyer continues with this breach of propriety in the way she shows us the servants’ reaction and in her description of the room to which she is shown to wait for Damerel.

The saloon seemed unfriendly, with no fire burning in the hearth, and the furniture primly arranged. They had never sat in it when Aubrey was at the Priory, but always in the library, and it still bore the appearance of a room that was never used. Venetia supposed that Imber must have led her to it either to emphasize his disapproval, or because Damerel had not yet finished his business with his agent.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

Everyone pretend that I saw through that his business with his agent right away.

Uh, no. I did not.

He came back to her, and grasped her wrists. “I told you also we would talk of it when we were cooler: well, my love, the night brings counsel! And the day has brought your uncle– and there let us leave it, and say nothing more than since there’s no help, come let us kiss, and part!

She lifted her face in mute invitation; he kissed her, swiftly and roughly, and almost flung her away. “There! Now go, before I take still worse advantage of your innocence!” He strode over to the door, and wrenched it open, shouting to Imber to send a message to Nidd to bring Miss Lanyon’s mare up to the house.

Now there is a man under the grip of strong emotion.

All the clues I had about what Venetia would do to resolve her situation with Damerel were wrong. Wrong!  My best guess was that somehow Damerel would come to his senses after she moved to her own home. My next best guess was she would get herself compromised somehow.

I confess that I kept thinking of the usual things that happen in Historical Romances penned in the 21st century and that did hamper my ability to work my way though to the possible solutions. I had confidence that Venetia would figure something out, but I did think moving to country by herself would some how be it.

What else didn’t I see coming?

How about Mom being alive? I thought she must be for a while and then around the middle of the book, I figured that couldn’t be, so  I discarded that notion. No, I didn’t see that coming either, and I should have. The clues were there.  Way to go, bro’s, lying to your sister like that.

What about her step-father? Was he a nice guy or a creep who would have taken advantage of Venetia if she weren’t too smart for him? After all, he’s already run off with a married woman once, why wouldn’t he stoop to running off with Venetia? There was a moment there when I was quite worried about the man’s intentions.

I thought the ending was amusing and I loved that way it was so wonderfully anticipated by all the previous times they were interrupted. Poor Damerel, trying so many times to propose to her!

Oh, and wasn’t Edward Yardley THE WORST ever? I wanted to bop that man over the head.

In the end, Venetia wins her man by staying true to herself AND to her understanding of Damerel. If she didn’t truly know his character and love him, she could never have won him. Damerel would have refused to be caught. But, as we know, he was a goner by page 30 (of my edition.)

So often in historical romance, it’s the hero who needs to change. That’s not the case with Venetia. We see, instead, the heroine’s journey into the kind of love that changed her as a person. Though the book opens with the suggestion that Damerel = the fox and Venetia = the best layer, one could argue that by the end, it’s Venetia who plays the role of the fox. Damerel is the ravished best layer. All he can do is capitulate to his superior opponent.

So. What do you guys think? First time readers, or those who recall their first reading, did you anticipate what I did not?

What did you like and not like? Any issues, quibbles or what not? Opine in the comments. Go!]