A past dispute...
When the irascible Lord Darracott's eldest son dies unexpectedly, the noble family must accept their estranged Yorkshire cousin as heir apparent. They are convinced he will prove to be a sadly vulgar person, but nothing could have prepared the beleaguered family for the arrival of Major Hugo Darracott.
A present deception...
His clever and beautiful cousin Anthea is sure there's more to the gentle giant than Hugo's innocent blue eyes and broad Yorkshire brogue would lead one to believe. But even she doesn't guess what he's capable of, until a family crisis arises and only Hugo can preserve the family's honor, leading everybody on a merry chase in the process. (from Goodreads)
The Unknown Ajax is the story of a family and the huge frickin’ troll that comes to live with them. This troll’s name is Major Hugo Darracott!
No, seriously, Hugo spends most of his time messing with the Darracotts (and, okay, fixing their problems). All the Darracotts expect him to be this bumbling country bumpkin kind of guy, just because his mother comes from a “weaver” family. They’re really kinda stupid– and Hugo totally takes advantage of that blindness and proceeds to lol all over the place.
I LOVED it. Hugo’s trolling was HILARIOUS. Georgette Heyer usually has a lot of humor in her books already– comedy of manners stuff, with some sarcasm and double entendres mixed in– but this one was particularly funny. I guess I just like it when prejudiced people get their comeuppance? AND they learn something about why being prejudiced is bad. Yay!
It helps, too, Hugo is just a very lovable hero. He’s smart and witty, with a huge sense of humor. And he’s willing to help people out when they need it!
Anthea, the heroine, is also pretty darned great. She’s flawed and imperfect, but in ways that make her more believable– and maybe even likable? She’s headstrong and that can lead to trouble, but she’s not afraid of getting what she wants. She’s (unfortunately) just as prejudiced as the rest of her family at first, though she can see through his troll-exterior somewhat more than they can. She and Hugo have humorous conversation with each other, and Anthea spends most of those conversations doing this:
(Actually, the whole family tends to do that when talking to Hugo. He is VERY GOOD at playing stupid!)
There’s some other stuff besides the romance and the lolz, of course. One of the main characters is involved in smuggling! Which is totally illegal and dangerous and it all leads to a very exciting/tense scene at the end with the local law enforcement1 and Hugo and the family and omg. I was really worried for a moment, you know? But Georgette Heyer doesn’t usually leave her characters destitute and without honor or whatever so, really, I probably didn’t have to.
Read: January 7-11, 2014
Sidenote: I totally only know about Ajax because of this Eddie Izzard bit. Classics-knowledge fail!
- who I feel sorry for, tbh; Hugo is a formidable opponent ↩