Venetia is a satisfying combination of comedy and the vein of deeper feeling which counterbalances Heyer’s clear-eyed realism and satirical pen. Venetia is one of Heyer’s most liberated heroines: she is a great realist about men, and about her own situation as a rich but isolated young woman, nearly too old for marriage, destined to marry a dull farmer or dwindle to aunt-hood, deep in the Yorkshire dales. When bad Lord Damerel returns to his neglected estates, the scene is set for an encounter of true minds. Yes, sexual attraction runs like a thread of fire between him and Venetia, but sense of humour and shared interests are more important in the meeting of soul-mates. Love changes everything, and the heartbreak is as real, because the hearts are real, as any you could read, just as the ending has all the satisfaction for the reader, as well as for the characters, of being truly earned.