Regency Read-Along – The Choices

All righty! We’ve had a spirited discussion in the comments about possible Heyer titles to read. I’ve made an executive decision and decided we should stick with Regency-set stories for now. In future, an Edith Layton title seems like an excellent suggested reading.

I went off to Wikipedia and swiped their descriptions of the Heyer novels people suggested. It’s possible I missed some, but that would be inadvertent on my part, not a deliberate omission.

It happens that I have already read The Regency Buck and would like to expand my Heyer horizons. But I did really really really like it. Lots. Some of these stories sound just wonderful! I’m a sucker for Cinderella stories, which many of these are . . . ::swoon::

There’s a poll at the bottom of this post. If there’s a malfunction, leave your vote in the comments. Any ties or controversies will be settled among and by the Riskies.
A Civil Contract

Viscount Lynton comes home to find himself the heir to debts after the death of his father. Having no means of restoring his family home he contemplates selling it. The family lawyer, however, suggests a marriage of convenience as an alternative. Lynton meets with Mr Chawleigh, a common Cit, and with Jenny, his plain and exquisitely shy daughter, and eventually agrees to be married. However he remains in love with Julia Oversley who is the exact opposite of Jenny. While Julia is ethereally beautiful and elegant, Jenny is plain and dowdy. The marriage is not a very happy one, although Jenny, who has been in love with Lynton for a long time, tries to make his life as comfortable as she can. Mr Chawleigh makes it difficult for Lynton to forget he is in his debt and the young man often wishes he were free of his obligations to him.

A veteran of the Peninsular War (1808-1814), Lynton has followed the exile and return of Napoleon with keen interest. Having read about the forthcoming battle in Belgium, he decides to gamble on the stock exchange. As he had foreseen, shares plummet down, only to soar again at the news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo (1815). Lynton no longer needs his father in law’s financial support.
In the meantime, Julia has married an older and wealthy suitor, whom she flaunts on a visit to Lynton’s. The latter realizes with a guilty feeling that he will probably be much happier and comfortable with devoted Jenny than he would ever have been with beautiful but self-centered Julia.

An Infamous Army

In the early summer of 1815, while the Battle of Waterloo is just a threat, Brussels is the most exciting city in Europe and many of the British aristocracy have rented homes there. The novel opens in the home of Lord and Lady Worth, where several of their friends are discussing the precarious situation in Belgium. Everyone is anxious for the Duke of Wellington to arrive from Vienna. When the other guests leave, Lady Worth’s brother, Sir Peregrine Taverner, (Perry) expresses his fears about remaining in Brussels, especially since his wife, Harriet is expecting their third child. In the end he decides that if his brother-in-law deems it safe to stay, then it must be safe enough. After he goes, Judith tells her husband about her hopes that Worth’s brother, Colonel the Hon. Charles Audley (who is a member of Wellington’s staff and is still in Vienna) will fall in love with her new friend, Miss Lucy Devenish. This leads her husband to accuse her of trying to play match maker and remark “I perceive that life in Brussels is going to be even more interesting than I had expected.” More About This Title


Heroine Kitty Charing has been brought up in rural isolation by her rich and eccentric guardian, Matthew Penicuik, whom she calls Uncle Matthew. Uncle Matthew makes the whimsical decision to name Kitty as his heiress, but only if she marries one of his extensive collection of great-nephews, the offspring of his assorted and much-loathed sisters.

Uncle Matthew expects that Kitty will marry Jack Westruther, his favourite great-nephew, and Kitty would be only too happy to comply: she has adored Jack for years. But Jack, while he intends someday to wed Kitty (believing that Uncle Matthew’s money must be willed either to her or to him), prefers to lead a rakish lifestyle as long as possible. Confident that Kitty will not accept any of his cousins, Jack declines to attend the family party at which Uncle Matthew intends for his great-nephews to propose to Kitty.
. . .
The complications that ensue are reflected in the title: a cotillion was originally a dance for four couples. More About This Title

Friday’s Child

The wild young Viscount Sheringham is fast running through his considerable income through gambling and other extravagant pursuits; and he cannot as yet touch the principal, unless he marries. As the lady with whom he currently fancies himself in love, the beautiful Isabella Milborne, is also an heiress, he proposes to her.

Isabella rejects him with contumely, citing his dissipated lifestyle. A lively quarrel then follows with his obnoxious widowed mother and her brother, who wish to retain control of his father’s fortune themselves. The Viscount storms off in a fit of pique, vowing to marry the first female he meets.
This turns out to be the pretty but orphaned and shy Hero Wantage, who has secretly loved him since they were children, and who now lives with one of his neighbours in the position of Cinderella, complete with Ugly Sisters.

The rest of the novel, chronicling the Viscount’s gradual transition to maturity and the realisation that the one he really loves is Hero (the “loving and giving” child of the title) is told with Miss Heyer’s characteristic wit, and features some of her most memorable dialogue, plot twists and characters (such as the fiery but lovelorn George Wrotham, whose hobby is fighting duels).

Regency Buck

Judith Taverner is a beautiful young heiress who comes to London to join high society. She takes an instant dislike to her unwilling guardian, Julian, fifth Earl of Worth, who, having met her earlier in a small town filled with bucks watching a boxing match, treats her with a familiarity reserved for loose women. Judith soon becomes a sensation in London. She get many offers of marriage (including one from the Duke of Clarence). Worth does not permit her to marry any one of them. This initially makes Judith very angry, but she comes to appreciate it later. Judith has a younger brother named Peregrine (Perry) who is a young handsome boy with very little sense and a lot of money to spare. Hence, he is always getting into trouble. Perry and Judith’s cousin Bernard Taverner seems always so kind and attentive, though there is little love lost between him and Worth.
. . .
The sparring and eventual love affair of Judith and Julian, against the backdrop of Judith’s brother Peregrine’s romance and danger, make up this novel. More About this Title.


Sylvester, a wealthy duke, is considering marriage. After discussing his prospects with his ailing mother, who thinks he is too arrogant towards the women he thinks are possibilities, he travels to London to discuss the matter with his godmother, Lady Ingham. Lady Ingham tells him of her granddaughter, whose mother (lady Ingham’s daughter) was his mother’s closest friend. He is disgusted by Lady Ingham’s efforts at match-making, and departs for a hunt in the countryside.
It is at this hunt that he meets the father of the girl Lady Ingham offered him. Impressed by the man’s hunting, Sylvester consents to being his guest. As the visit progresses, it is patent to Sylvester that the whole was engineered by Lady Ingham to make him fall in love with Phoebe, whom he considers insipid and talentless.
Phoebe, meanwhile, is terrified of being made to marry Sylvester. More about this title

The Foundling

A bored duke slips away from his overprotective servants and family and gets caught up in a variety of mishaps, eventually gaining self-confidence and a new outlook on life.

The Quiet Gentleman

Gervase Frant, 7th Earl of St Erth, returns to his family seat at Stanyon, having inherited from his father while abroad with the army against Napoleon.

Also residing at Stanyon are his stepmother are the Dowager Lady St Erth, Gervase’s younger half-brother Martin, his cousin Theo and his stepmother’s young friend, Drusilla, who is on a long-term visit.

Lady St Erth and Martin rapidly make plain to Gervase, in ways verging on the highly anti-social, that they are rather disappointed to see him home. They had expected him to die, as the officer death rate was high, and had wanted him to die, as Martin would have inherited instead.
. . .
More about this Title

The Reluctant Widow

The heroine, Elinor Rochdale, daughter of a ruined gentleman, accepts the role of a governess to sustain herself. Stepping into the wrong carriage at a Sussex village, Elinor finds herself in the wrong house, required by the sensible, sophisticated Edward Carlyon to marry his profligate cousin, Eustace Cheviot. In a somewhat dazed state, Elinor soon finds herself coerced into becoming the wife of a dying man, the mistress of a ruined estate and a partner in a secret conspiracy to save the family’s name in only one night.

The Spanish Bride

From the moment that Harry Smith met the 14-year-old Juana in 1812 he was trapped, trapped by a love that was surrounded on all sides by the Napoleonic wars. From the Siege of Badajos to Waterloo Harry & Juana were virtually inseparable – even when separated.

The Talisman Ring

On his deathbed, Baron Lavenham arranges a marriage between his great-nephew, Sir Tristram Shield, and his young French granddaughter, Eustacie de Vauban. His grandson and heir, Ludovic, is on the run on the Continent, after allegedly murdering a man in a dispute over a valuable heirloom, the talisman ring. The romantic Eustacie, appalled by her betrothed’s phlegmatic character, runs away and soon encounters a smuggler, who turns out to be her cousin Ludovic. The two take refuge at a local inn, after Ludovic is injured escaping from Excisemen. There they encounter an older lady, Miss Sarah Thane, who vows to help them. The subsequent plot revolves around proving Ludovic’s innocence by finding the missing ring and unmasking the real murderer.

The Toll-Gate

After acting as an aide-de-camp at the Battle of Waterloo, Jack Staple is finding civilian life tedious. Following a formal (and somewhat boring) dinner party in honour of his cousin’s engagement, Jack sets out by himself on horseback to visit a more congenial friend some 60 miles away. After getting lost in the dark and rain he reaches a toll-gate where a frightened 11-year old lad is acting as toll collector in the absence of his father. A combination of curiosity, compassion, tiredness, and dampness lead him to stay at the toll house overnight with a view to sorting out the situation in the morning.

Over the next few days Jack’s circle of acquaintances rapidly expands to include a highwayman, a Bow Street runner, and the local gentry plus their devoted retainers. Other complications include a dead body, stolen treasure, and some masked villains. In the process of preventing a scandal, Jack also manages to identify the murderer, deal with the villains, retrieve the treasure, satisfy the law, provide for his friends, and resolve his own romance.


Venetia Lanyon grew up in the country, away from the world with only her younger brother Aubrey, bookish and lamed, for company. Her peace and quiet is one day disturbed by the rakish Lord Damerel. She at first sensibly keeps away from him for his very discourteous treatment of her, but when Lord Damerel finds an injured Aubrey and not only takes him into his home to recover but treats him with great kindness, she revises her first opinion of him and they soon become the best of friends. When Venetia and Lord Damerel fall in love, however, Damerel is convinced that marriage with him would cause Venetia’s social ruin. Venetia disagrees, and sets about creating her own happy ending.

And Now, Please Vote

If you’re reading this via a feed, you may need to visit The Riskies Directly in Order to Vote.

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions and reasons for your vote (because it would be fun to know why someone chose as they did.)

About carolyn

Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and a dog. Also a son. One of the cats is his.
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12 years ago

FYI: I was completely torn about The Talisman Ring because I would love to read a funny book, but I surprised myself and voted for Sylvester because I so love the plain heroine who is finally noticed for the jewel she is. Anyone who’s read my books may have noticed that as a theme…

How about the rest of you?

Jane George
12 years ago

Venetia- because I have not read it yet and it’s always touted as one of her best. And I know my local library branch has it. 🙂

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

You did miss Frederica, but that’s okay. This is a great list to choose from.

12 years ago

I’ll be happy with any of them; I’d prefer one that I don’t own/haven’t read, so I have an excuse to buy a new one! But then the ones I’ve would all be enjoyable to read again, so I think this is a no-lose situation for me. Wheee!

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Well there are several that sound interesting, but I really want one that’s on Kindle. I’m so addicted I need a 12 step program.

12 years ago

Oh, shoot! I did leave off Frederica RATS. Feel free to vote for that one in the comments.

Several of the books do have Kindle editions, by the way. But not all. When we’re done with the voting, we’ll see where we stand with that issue and discuss amongst ourselves.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

I’ll make my Kindle voice heard, Jane Austen. Never fear.

Unfortunately, Venetia is not in Kindle.

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Carolyn, I am awed by your technical ability. A, gasp, survey on the Riskies! How daring and newfangled–just like that steam business that frightens the horses.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I’m not picky–I’ll read anything 🙂

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I’m sort of with Amanda. I’m not terribly picky and would love to read any of them again. And I am also with SonomaLass. There are a couple of these that are missing from my current library because I lent them out and they never returned. (not my hardbound early editions, but the paperbacks) so any excuse to buy a new copy is always a good thing! I am SO looking forward to this!

Barbara Monajem
12 years ago

I’ve read all of these — but I skimmed large sections of both An Infamous Army and The Spanish Bride. Now, a more mature me wants to reread them for the stuff I skipped (mostly battle scenes). But I don’t think I have the focus for that right now, so I’d prefer one of the others. Any one. They’re all wonderful for different reasons.

I didn’t vote. I never can pick just one Heyer.

12 years ago

Holy crinolines, that’s a lot of choice! I’m not voting, will wait and see what the riskyship decides.

12 years ago

…Although, ‘The Masqueraders’ is already sitting on my TBR shelf and looks gorgeous. And IIRC, Eloisa James talks about it being an influence on one of her Desperate Duchesses series.

12 years ago

If having Kindle edition means more people participate, I’m all in favor of narrowing the list down that way. It’s not like there are any I DON’T want to read (or re-read, in the case of Cotillion, The Foundling or The Reluctant Widow).

I voted for The Quiet Gentleman, but Sylvester looks good too!

Beth Elliott
12 years ago

I voted for ‘Friday’s Child’ because the characters are a wacky bunch of young people but all such fun, but I have all G Heyer’s books [inherited from my mother, so all very well thumbed] and enjoy them all. Whatever you choose, count me in.

12 years ago

Wow, that’s not how I remember A Civil Contract at all. It’s a great list to choose from. I’ll go cast my vote now. Can’t wait to start and share.

12 years ago

I voted for Sylvester. . . a sentimental choice on my part. It’s a fabulous list, though!

Laurel Ann
12 years ago

Regency Buckero for me all the way! Lurve Heyer. Thanks for doing a group read!

Rydia Lavenia
12 years ago

Oh I LOVE Heyer! Her novels are fabulous! I recently discovered her (after my Jane Austen obsession) and it’s a dream come true! A lot of my favorites aren’t on this list but I always thought the Quiet Gentleman sounded fantastic!

Unfortunately I found the local library only has 4 or 5 titles of Heyer’s work, but they are all on paperback and never cost too much!

Little Lady
12 years ago

The Grand Sophy I didn’t see – but ti’s the absolute best!