My Ultimate Crush: Sir Anthony Fanshawe

Make way, make way! Sir Anth- we mean… Carina Press author Josh Lanyon is here today to offer up his Ultimate Crush! Be warned, you may be swept off your feet before you’ve finished reading! 

“And I,” said Sir Anthony, “can finish my dinner!”

I think it’s interesting that these days my ultimate crush is a character I actively disliked when I was a much younger romance reader.

Sir Anthony Fanshawe of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romance The Masqueraders is described as “a very large and leisurely gentleman indeed…he had certainly a presence and a personality.” It wasn’t just my youthful preference for slight, quicksilver and sardonic men, Sir Anthony is described as deliberate, placid, indolent, imperturbable, humorous, sober, peaceable and, worst of all, respectable.  He is unquestionably a grown up. A mature and confident man who thinks before he speaks, let alone acts.

Now a grown up myself, I know how much that means!

Which is why when Sir Anthony falls for the cross-dressing adventuress Prudence Merriot, it’s pretty damned romantic. From the standpoint of a solid citizen like Sir Anthony, Prudence is initially very much a liability. She is penniless and her family lineage is inglorious, to say the least. Not only that, both her father and brother are escaped Jacobites. Did I mention the part about her running around London society dressed as a man?

In short, not the kind of woman Sir Anthony might be expected to offer for.

But Sir Anthony is shrewd and insightful and he quickly susses Prudence’s secret. Not only is he not shocked, he determines to protect her — and her family — at all costs. When she’s called out, he picks a fight and duels with her challenger — and then he elopes with her. Or as good as. In the end, he takes her to stay with his mother (he is, after all, a gentleman and a grown up).

As a younger reader, Sir Anthony’s capable certainty annoyed me. Prudence didn’t need or want rescuing, and Sir Anthony was putting an end to all her adventuring. But Prudence herself says early on she is tired of adventuring, tired of being on the run and living out of her trunk. While she doesn’t need or want rescuing, she does appreciate the strong shoulder and ready arm Sir Anthony offers. They share a sense of humor and a similar world view, despite their different situations.

“My dear, I have looked many times in your eyes,” he said. “They tell me all I have need to know.”

I find that awfully romantic, and all the more so because we readers know Sir Anthony doesn’t say that kind of thing lightly. He’s not given to flowery speeches. He means it. Every word.

And probably the most romantic thing about Sir Anthony is this grown up man, so thoughtful and experienced and yes, wise, suffers no particular conflict over his feelings for Prudence. He is a man who does not let society or politics dictate what he believes in — let alone who he shall love. He has complete respect and admiration for Prudence, and he’s got the courage and honesty to say so without dramatics.

“I have nothing but pride in you. In your courage, and in the quick wits of you. I have never known so wonderful a woman.”

One thing for sure, life with Sir Anthony might prove stable, but it would never be dull.

Tweet @JoshLanyon and let him know what you think. Is it yay or nay to to Sir Anthony Fanshawe? 

5 replies on “My Ultimate Crush: Sir Anthony Fanshawe”

I loved Viscount Lynton in a Civil Contract, his realisation that his wife doesn’t “enact cheltenham tragedies before breakfast” always seemed to me to be the epitome of romance. 🙂 Although I also loved These Old Shades, Justin duck of Avon was a long time hero.
I don’t think I’ve ever considered Sir Anthony particularly closely, and now all my Heyers are packed up waiting to move.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Sir Anthony, too. I love the way in which he tells Letty (the girl who Prudence/Peter rescues after she changes her mind about eloping with the baddy because she doesn’t want to marry Sir Anthony) that in fact he has no intention of asking her to marry him: “I suppose, Letty, because my taste is at fault.”

I also like the fact that he only rescues Prudence when she is in an impossible position, having been arrested for murder. The way in which Heyer describes him watching over her when she is sleeping is deliberately evocative of the age of chivalry: “There was silence over the fields; the world slept, but Sir Anthony Fanshawe stayed wakeful, guarding his lady’s rest.”

But much as I like Sir Anthony, I am a bit surprised that he is your ultimate crush! Heyer has a couple of other large, reliable, humorous men who might compete for the honour: Captain Jack Staple of The Toll-gate and, my favourite, Major Hugo Darracott, The Unknown Ajax.

I’ve read The Masqueraders many years ago and I must say that Sir Anthony didn’t make such an impression on me. But I remember that I liked Prudence’s adventorous brother much more. He was such a romantic hero. Why do I always fall for the adventurers? No wonder I’m not rich. 🙂

I love Sir Anthony. I guess now I’m a grown up I appreciate grown up heroes more than spoilt rakes. I also like Gervase in The Quiet Gentleman and Major Hugo Darracott who is light on his feet despite his size and has a reprehensible sense of humour.

Well, now I have to go find The Masqueraders … but I agree with Jan. Viscount Lynton quickly became a favorite hero of mine. Oh, and Freddy from Cotillion, because he was my first Heyer hero and because he becomes Kitty’s partner in adventure.

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