We’ve talked a lot about Jane Austen lately. But what about Georgette Heyer?
I suspect most Regency authors were first won over to Regency romance by Heyer — and the rest are usually devoted fans too.
How about you? Do you love Georgette Heyer? Or is she just not your cup of tea?
If you are a fan, which are your favorite Heyers?
Your least favorite?
Have your tastes changed over the years?
I recently made a list of my ten favorite Heyers, and my ten next favorite Heyers. In case you’re curious, here they are:
CARA’S TEN FAVORITE HEYER NOVELS
The Unknown Ajax
These Old Shades
The Convenient Marriage
Death in the Stocks
CARA’S NEXT TEN FAVORITE HEYER NOVELS
The Grand Sophy
The Toll Gate
My least favorite Heyers would include April Lady and A Civil Contract.
How about you?
Cara King — www.caraking.com
My Lady Gamester — guaranteed to get your laundry cleaner than the leading Regency
Frederica is my favorite so far but I haven’t read all of her books yet.
Well, I’ve been reading Romances/Regency Romances only for a couple years now, so I didn’t start off with her — my first, and still only was The Grand Sophy. I got it as a matter of fact from a previous blog entry from here, I believe. Someone mentioned it was a funnier one so I wanted to start with a funnier one. 🙂 I was really surprised with it — seeing it was written in the 50s somewhere, the heroine was out of the books from today. I was really surprised. I remember it was a little difficult to read, but so was Jane Austen to me when I first picked up P&P, and I got used to it. But in any case, it really surprised me, and I liked it a lot. 🙂
Ah, Heyer. I’m a addict. I spent god knows how much $$$ getting all the new Arrow editions from England (yes, I had to have a matching set!).
VENETIA is my favorite, but I also LOVE to read the connected THESE OLD SHADES, DEVIL’S CUB, REGENCY BUCK, & AN INFAMOUS ARMY.
Cara, what a great topic. Is there such person as a romance reader who hasn’t read Heyer?
These Old Shades was my very first Heyer. I still have the copy with me, having faithfully carried it from house to house over the years as I’ve moved. And it is a much dog-eared copy given that I’m certainly not its first owner. My next Heyer buys were Arabella and The Grand Sophy, both of which I’ve read multiple times. But These Old Shades remains my favorite. My fourth Heyer read was the sequel to Shades about the duke’s son. I have been dying to find a copy and read it again. If anyone of you knows the title, you will have my undying gratitude. (Hm. Then again, perhaps for that very reason you might wish not to reveal the title.) If not my gratitude, how about some chocolate?
These Old Shades
Keira, I think you’re talking about Devil’s Cub, and I will take either undying gratitude or chocolate (though I’m guessing the first is less fattening). 🙂
As for my own favorites, tough call, but I think they are: Frederica, Venetia, Arabella, Sylvester, The Nonesuch, The Unknown Ajax and The Grand Sophy.
Keira, I came late to Heyer. If you can believe it, I never even heard of her before I started writing about ten years ago. My friend Helen told me to read her and to read traditional Regencies as well.
I listened to most of the Heyers I read. Chiver Audio Books (at my library, luckily) did some truly wonderful recordings of the books. I loved listening to them, read by some wonderful Engligh accented readers.
My favorite is Venetia, but I loved Fredericka, Sprigged Muslin, Friday’s Child, The Unknown Ajax.
I really did not like A Civil Contract. And (dare I say it)I found These Old Shades annoying. And I was disappointed in An Infamous Army.
But Heyer’s body of work was incomparable. I think she invented the Regency romance and the rest of us merely stand on her shoulders.
At the moment my favorites, in no particular order, are: The Unknown Ajax, Faro’s Daughter, Frederica, The Grand Sophy, These Old Shades, Venetia, Cotillion, and Friday’s Child. But ask me tomorrow and I’ll give you a different list.
There are still a few Heyers that I haven’t read: An Infamous Army, for example. But of those that I have read, my least favorites are without a doubt The Reluctant Widow and A Civil Contract. The former because it is trying to be a mystery rather than a romance, and ends up not being much of either; and the latter because, well, it’s icky.
And while Cara didn’t ask about this category, my winner for Most Incorrect Preconception Of What A Book Is About would be: Powder and Patch. I’m a bit of a military history buff, and I assumed that a book called Powder and Patch must be about riflemen. So very, very not. (With a rifle you had to “patch” the bullet–i.e., wrap it in a bit of oiled cloth–to make it engage the rifling properly when fired.)
*** Heyer spoilers ahead! (for Regency Buck, April Lady, and A Civil Contract) ***
As to the Heyers that annoy me…
You know, I only read REGENCY BUCK once, because I kind of disliked it. The hero is just such an alpha jerk, in a way that sort of gives me the creeps — he kisses her against her will because he thinks she’s a servant so he has a right — ergh!
Anyway, I haven’t read it in years and years, so perhaps I’m not remembering quite right, but those are my memories!
A CIVIL CONTRACT I found sort of tragic. If it had seemed to be arguing that there is no romantic love, then I’d have had no problem with it. But in the end, the hero is still “romantically” in love with the idiot girl, and the heroine with him — which I find so, so sad. So it’s definitely not my favorite. I even read it a second time, to see if my opinion changed — but it didn’t.
APRIL LADY annoys me because the heroine is just *so dumb*. Her husband kisses her and of course she knows he’s doing it to be NICE to her. He’s a MAN, you dork! 🙂
I’ve loved Heyer since I found a copy of Friday’s Child in my parent’s library when I was about 11. My favorites are:
I really didn’t like Sprig Muslin or the one that was based on the true war guy who married the Spanish woman. I did like A Civil Contract, actually, i thought it was a very sweet, small book.
I love Georgette Heyer! My favorites are Frederica, These Old Shades, Devil’s Cub, The Corinthian, Regency Buck, and I am sure there is one more, but the name escapes me at the moment.
I love Georgette Heyer. Started reading her in high school and have been on a hunt for her books ever since. I have a full shelf of her books, including some of the reprints with forwards by contemporary authors. I used to have a very dog-eared copy of an article from an early RT, I believe, that listed all her titles. I’ll probably never have them all but they’re both a comfort as they take me back to my early romance reading years and a reminder of what can be done with words. Ones I most enjoy? That would be like picking my favorite son. Can’t be done.
Have you read the book that told about her writing habits and how much research she did? Can’t think of the title — found it in the library a few years back.
I know the book you mean, Terry — THE PRIVATE WORLD OF GEORGETTE HEYER by Jane Aiken Hodge (who wrote some Regencies herself way back when!)
Great book. And in the back it has a list of all her books — which I use for reference (and for arranging my Heyers in chronological order.) 🙂
Elena, you have my undying gratitude!! I’ve been trying to upload fat-free virtual chocolate, but Blogger isn’t cooperating. So, I’ll have truffles when we meet in person.
WOW, Diane. For most people, Heyer defines Regency. I’m curious what you thought of your first Heyer. I took your suggestion and have requested my local library to get a Chiver Audio Book for “Devil’s Cub” for me.
Cara, thanks a bunch for suggesting “The Private World for Georgette Heyer.”
I think my first Heyer was Arabella, but I don’t remember. I only know I have that in hardback.
What I remember most about the Chivers Audio books, my real introduction to Heyer was the charm of the language and the vividness of the setting. She really transported you into the Regency World so totally that you forgot your humdrum surroundings (um, I was listening to Heyer driving to and from work and I promise I never ran into anybody… much)
I also love the Barbosa art on the covers of her original books. What a perfect blend of story and cover!
It seems to me the Hodge book was very hard to find. How nice that it was released in paperback, but Amazon already says they’ve sold out!
Argh! Just last night I added the Hodge book to the top of my “must buy” list. Either they had a small paperback print run in May, or else, it was far too popular. I hope, they’ll reprint.
It was released in April in UK, and is still available on amazon.co.uk. But that’s rather expensive.
Oh, I didn’t even know they’d rereleased the Hodge book! My copy is a couple decades old — and has a more light-hearted cover than the new edition.
To see the older cover, go to this page, and scroll down to almost the very bottom:
(It’s a cool page to look at anyway, if you’re a Heyer fan!)
I can’t remember…but those old Heyer covers are awesome–so elegant and the colors are gorgeous.
it may not be the most high-brow, but for regencies I definitely love stephanie laurens most 😉