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Georgette Heyer's first contemporary novel, Instead of the Thorn was published in 1923, when she was just twenty-one years of age. This book deals with Elizabeth Arden, a naive teenager who is married to the wealthy and erudite Stephen Ramsay, a writer of some renown, and who discovers that her strict upbringing, her youth, her rampant insecurities and dislike of sex make her unsuited to her new role as wife to a demanding and inconsiderate man.
To the modern reader, much of this book is anathema - the characters are, for the most part, hateful, and many of the attitudes sexist and abominable, even while the book advocates for proper sex education. But as a snapshot of the young Georgette Heyer's opinions of what life potentially held in store for her, especially as she was as yet unmarried when she wrote this book (which purports to be full of "wise" advice to the newlywed), it is a fascinating window into the past, and into the mind of an author who would go on to view relationships very, very differently.
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Used availability for Georgette Heyer's Instead of the Thorn
March 1978 : USA Hardback
July 1971 : USA Hardback
June 2019 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition