Venetia is a delightful Georgette Heyer regency romance first published in 1958. Venetia is old (25) and unmarried. For reasons that become clear later in the book, she was kept out of society on her family's rural estate rather than going to London to come out. She is beautiful and intelligent and knows her own mind. She lives with her lame younger brother and manages the family estate while her older brother enjoys himself elsewhere. She has two local admirers, who she describes with mirth as "worthy" and "excessively romantic." She considers marrying one just because her options are limited, but she knows she cannot love him.
Although she is green, she is well read, and she does not consider herself a complete innocent. She is independent and headstrong, and on a walk unchaperoned to pick berries, she runs into the rake who owns the estate next to her family's. He is not even a reformed rake, but they quickly discover they have sympathetic minds and become good friends, to the horror of all who know her.
Lord Damerel has never seduced an innocent and never means to, which puts him in a quandry when he finds himself falling in love with Venetia. Like all good reformed or reforming rakes, he means to give her up for her own good.
Although a little draggy in the middle, the plot takes unexpected twists and arrives at a delightful conclusion. I recommend Venetia for any reader who likes an old-fashioned, gentle romance in the manner of Jane Austen.