Frederica (novel)

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First edition
AuthorGeorgette Heyer
Cover artistArthur Barbosa
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreRegency, Romance
PublisherThe Bodley Head
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages384 pp

Frederica is a Regency romance novel by Georgette Heyer. The story is set in 1818.[1] The plot is typical of several later Heyer romances in counterpointing the courtships of an older and a younger couple, with variation provided by the antics of Frederica's younger brothers and their boisterous mongrel.

Plot summary[edit]

Frederica Merriville has long been in charge of her younger siblings. Since her parents' death, she has taken it upon herself to make sure that her beautiful sister Charis is well married, believing herself to be on the shelf (too old to be desirable in her social circles). To further this end, she brings the family from their country home to London and introduces herself to a distant relation, the selfish and indolent Marquis of Alverstoke, asking him to sponsor her sister into "the ton" and the subsequent Season.

The Marquis is initially reluctant but agrees to sponsor the Merriville ladies out of mischief, mostly to annoy his sister Louisa who had been demanding similar assistance to launch her own daughter into society. At their combined debut ball, Alverstoke's homely niece is easily outshone by Charis' beauty.

The Merrivilles are liked by everyone for their easy and engaging manners and good breeding. Charis is admired by many young men but she falls for the Marquis's slow-witted and handsome cousin Endymion Dauntry. Frederica also acquires her own share of admirers, including (to his own astonishment) Alverstoke himself.

Alverstoke is fascinated by her frank and open manners, unlike the society manners of London's fashionable ladies. He is also delighted by the high spirits of the two youngest Merrivilles, her brothers Felix and Jessamy, and comes to like them for their own sakes. He slowly but deeply falls in love with Frederica and is ready to do anything for her sake.

Major characters[edit]

  • Vernon Dauntry, The Marquis of Alverstoke: an elegant, jaded nobleman
  • Frederica Merriville: a frank-spoken young woman, and de facto guardian of her three younger siblings while her younger brother Harry attends Oxford
  • Felix: Frederica's youngest brother
  • Jessamy: Frederica's younger brother
  • Charis: Frederica's beautiful sister
  • Harry Merriville: Frederica's younger brother and heir to the Merriville Estate
  • Louisa, Lady Buxted: Alverstoke's demanding and selfish elder sister
  • Augusta, Lady Jevington: Alverstoke's arrogant elder sister
  • Carlton, Lord Buxted: Lady Buxted's son and Frederica's suitor
  • Mr. Darcy Moreton: Alverstoke's friend and an unsuccessful suitor to Frederica
  • Endymion Dauntry: Alverstoke's young cousin and heir, and Charis's suitor
  • Lady Elizabeth Kentmere: Alverstoke's understanding elder sister
  • Charles Trevor: Alverstoke's able and efficient secretary



  • Hodge, JA. The Private World of Georgette Heyer (Bodley Head; 1984)