I have read several Georgette Heyer novels and I don't seem to get bored with her wonderful stories, unique characters and great eye for historical detail. The Quiet Gentleman is a bit different from the other Heyer novels I have read. There isn't so much romance here. Instead, there is a mystery suspense plot. I am not bothered with that. Her characters are as memorable as ever and the backdrop of the Regency period is as authentic-sounding as ever. Gervase Frant, Earl of St. Erth, has returned home after surviving the Napoleonic Wars. To his step-family's disappointment, he has not only survived the last battle, Waterloo, he has come to claim his place as master of the estate. His family is now determined to make his life as unhappy as possible. And there is the matter that someone has tried to kill him since he arrives. He suspects his step-family of doing this of course. After all, his stepbrother has a lot to gain by having him killed. But Gervase takes it all with quiet dignity. He sets his eyes on a couple of young ladies, including one Miss Morville, all of this while watching his back and awaiting the opportunity to catch the people who want him dead. There are some twists throughout the novel.
The most impressive part of The Quiet Gentleman is the humor. Once again, Georgette Heyer has created an amazing romp that had me in stitches in various occasions. The dialogue is so full of subtle sarcasm and undeniable wit and I marveled at the author's ability at coming up with such lines. Again, I have to compare her to Jane Austen. Anyone who has hungered for a Jane Austen read other than the stuff she wrote can feast on Georgette Heyer as the next best thing. Another great thing about this novel is the characterization. I like Gervase because there's a quiet confidence about him that makes him a compelling and enjoyable hero. This is the second Heyer novel I have read that concentrates on the hero more than the heroine (The Unknown Ajax was the other one). Romance isn't the focus on this story, but, as I said earlier, I'm not in the least bit bothered with that. Heyer had established herself as a three-dimensional writer that branches out of the genre and creates stories and endings that are less predictable than most romances. And of course the other thing that I loved about this book is the accurate description of Regency England. Many romance authors resort to anachronisms in order to keep the story interesting because they don't know how to, or perhaps don't want to combine the rules of propriety as things were at the time with a plausible and passionate story. Georgette has done the aforementioned combination beautifully in her novels. Anyway, The Quiet Gentleman is a must read. You will love the quirky characters, the great suspense plot and the incredible wit. I have combined this read with another Regency book by an author called Loretta Chase and I think Heyer must've inspired the aforementioned author because she writes in a similar style and I loved her novel as well. I had so much fun reading the two books. If you are new to Georgette Heyer, this is a great place to start. I recommend this gem. If you get the Harlequin reprint (I found an out-of-print trade paperback at an used bookstore), I suggest you read the story first and then the forewords from romance authors (if there are any) afterwards, for they tend to use spoilers.