Regency Turns 80 — The Nonesuch

Silhouettes of a man and woman in Regency dress against a background of the number 80

Best-selling Regency author, Kate Pearce, and her mystery-writing alter ego, Catherine Lloyd, have something in common with Georgette Heyer, whose creation of the Regency romance we are celebrating this year. Like Kate/Catherine, Heyer wrote mysteries as well as romance novels. She even wrote some Regencies which incorporated a mystery. In today’s article, Kate shares her views on The Nonesuch, one of Heyer’s Regencies which begin in London, but then sweeps us off to a remote country village, peopled with a host of fascinating characters. It must be noted that the only mystery in The Nonesuch is what Sir Waldo is going to do with the property he inherited, but this novel is one of Heyer’s best-loved Regencies.

Everyone is welcome to share their views on the Regency romance genre, or this novel in particular, in comments to this post.

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A young woman in a Regency-era walking dress has her foot on a large rock while a gentleman in Regency costume kneels at her feet, apparently about to help her with her shoe. In the background is a path through a green field which leads towards some hills in the distance.

I’ve been reading Georgette Heyer since I was twelve, and the older I get the more I appreciate her older heroes and heroines, and the complexities of her later books. In my opinion, The Nonesuch has all the ingredients that make a Heyer novel so immensely satisfying both as a reader and a writer.

Our hero, Sir Waldo Hawkridge is in his mid thirties, immune to the lures cast out to him from the ladies of the ton, and an acknowledged sporting legend amongst his peers. He also has a deep social conscience sadly lacking in most men of his class. Our heroine, Ancilla Trent is decidedly on the shelf, and acting as a companion to a beautiful spoiled heiress. Their attraction to each other grows slowly and believably through a shared sense of the ridiculous, and an equal determination to steer their errant charges away from any romantic entanglements.

This book has so much going on in it. The quiet but funny primary love story between Waldo and Ancilla, the antics of the spoiled beauty cutting a swathe through the local male population including Waldo’s cousins, and the even slower build of the secondary love story, which leaves the Beauty with her perfect nose severely out of joint.

Sir Waldo is a man who knows what he wants, and what he values, and just as in Pride and Prejudice he has to convince his heroine to overlook her prejudices against the Corinthian set and see him for the admirable man he really is. So, if you want a deeply satisfying love story that will make you laugh, and a plot worthy of a Regency farce, please consider picking up The Nonesuch. You won’t be disappointed.

Kate Pearce is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling romance author who also writes cozy Regency mysteries as her alter ego Catherine Lloyd.

Connect with both Kate and Catherine online at:
Kate Pearce website:
Catherine Lloyd web site:

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  1. This is one of Heyer’s best. It is well-plotted, the characters, even the minor ones, are well-drawn, and she is able to create in my mind a sense of space–that is the beautiful countryside, country life, etc. One of the things I admire about her books is that she is able to create quite different characters and plots of manners. Too often today the so-called “regencies” or “historicals” have one dimensional characters (those that think only of sex) or improbable “independent” women that fly balloons, have pet goats and sheep, etc. to show their independence and independent thinking. Ancilla, Drusilla, Annis, Serena, even Fanny are characters that value themselves and express their values within the confines of Regency manners and consequently seem to my mind interesting people to know.

  2. The first time I read The Nonesuch, I fell head over heels for Sir Waldo. It happened in that scene outside the church, when he was so kind and understanding with Charlotte regarding her fear of horses. Even though he was a noted whip and obviously appreciated fine horseflesh, he did not belittle her for her fear of those large and unpredictable creatures. I still consider him my very favorite among all of Heyer’s heroes. Be still, my heart!

    And I think Ancilla is also a very well-drawn heroine and a perfect match for him. Once she knew he was not a libertine, lost to all decency, of course! 😉


  3. This was the first GH book I read and I was straight back to the library to get more. I now have them all and read them regularly. My favourite usually tends to be whichever one I am reading. I do like Ancilla telling Tiffany that her beauty fades when she shows off. Thanks for the great review.

  4. This book is a delight. One of the things I love about Heyer’s books is the fact that the hero and heroine don’t exist in a bubble. She populates their world with secondary characters who are vividly drawn and actually matter to the story.

  5. This has always been one of my favorites, too! Hugo is such a great character, so attractive and noble, that I manage to get romantic about him despite his name. Could there be any greater proof of Heyer’s powers?

      1. Never mind! I think we all know who you mean. 😉

        I think that may be one of the reasons I fell so hard for Waldo. I was in high school when I first read the book and did not believe Waldo could be the hero, just because of his name. Until that scene with Charlotte and the horses. Then, I was done for!


  6. Sir Waldo was the best! GH’s books were a huge influence on me. I especially loved how she made the characters come alive and when she mixed Regency romance with a mystery.

  7. Ancilla! I have not heard that name in a while. I had an Aunt Ancilla once, and I always found myself calling her Aunt Cilla, which became Aunt Silly, which she was. Silly, I mean. Unlike me. True, I never learned to read Latin, but you can’t count that against a chap. I always say, if we were meant to read Latin, it would be written in English.

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