For those who are sorely disappointed that Jane Austen's novels stop at 6, Georgette Heyer's Regency stories will happily salve the hurt. In A Convenient Marriage, Heyer takes up Austen's signature diction, tone, and characterization to spin a lively tale about unexpected outcomes; however, in this standard marriage plot, the central female, Horrie, is the rascal - not a man.
Horatia Winwood (Horrie) has good intentions when she ventures out unchaperoned and unsanctioned to approach the Earl of Rule, the wealthy gentleman who has asked for the hand of Horrie's sister, Lizzie. Horrie knows Lizzie's heart is somewhere else, so she sees no reason why she can't stand in for her sister with the Lord; after all isn't one sister as good as another? Lord Rule surprisingly agrees to marry the upstart young girl, who evolves from delightful innocent to gambler and ingenue - or at least that's what the gossips are saying about her, which makes a few of Lord Rule's enemies - and his mistress - smile like cheshire cats. If they can prove that Horrie is not worthy of Rule's association, they may succeed in accomplishing their ultimate desire: Rule's embarrassment and fall from social grace for his enemies; and his devoted attention for his mistress.
Yet, the ill-wishers neglect to take into account that Rule may have different ideas about Horrie. After much deception, a sword fight, and great suspense, what starts out as a convenient marriage turns into something entirely different at the end.