For many reasons Sebastian reminded me of Freddy Standen in Georgette Heyer's 'Cotillion.'
Whilst Sebastian's strengths are different to Freddy's, he nevertheless makes his fiancée Lady Georgina Stane feel protected. As Georgina says, 'he always knows what to do.' And that's exactly how Kitty Charing felt about Freddy. Sure it's reversed somewhat. Sebastian is good looking, dashing, and more at home on a horse than in discussion with his peers over some obscure point. Where Freddy was up to the latest rig and knew to a nicety how to steer a course through the social pitfalls that yawned for the unwary.
Sebastian is acutely aware that he is not as clever as his siblings. He looks at the written word and all he sees is a string of letters running together in no recognizable pattern. So Sebastian covers up his heartfelt flaw, his dreaded shortcoming via a series of logistically manoeuvres that really show his innate cleverness. His memory it seems is prodigious.
Sebastian travels down to Georgina's home (Stane Castle) to meet her parents prior to their wedding. His family--the Duke and Duchess of Langford and his brothers and their wives will join them.
A panicked Georgina realizes that her family might not be quite what Sebastian and his family are used to--especially as her mother breeds pugs (a flowing carpet of them), her father is enamoured with all things to do with reincarnation at the moment, a Hindu scholar is in residence, her hoyden sisters' actions make for some telling times, and their governess has apparently taken reincarnation to heart in her own particular way! Oh, and let's not forget Sebastian's sterling valet and confident William Sykes, an aspiring playwright. One dreads to even contemplate what the future might hold for the whole Gresham family and when Sykes' pen comes home to roost. And what will happen to sister Hilde when she is loosed on the ton, or maybe I should rephrase that and say what will happen to the ton? And Robert is obviously twitchy about something. I see more fun and games ahead.
I do love Sebastian's introduction to Stane Castle where 'the pugs flowed over like a school of fish to surround him and began to scratch and slaver at his riding boots.' Hilarious!
A charming, amusing and heartfelt story with tender and delicate moments.
A NetGalley ARC