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Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Georgette Heyer

Today is Georgette Heyer's birthday! Since she would be 111 years old today, I guess this makes it her (according to Tolkien) eleventieth birthday.

Georgette Heyer is hailed by scores of fans as being the quintessential Regency Romance novelist. Most people credit her for creating not on the genre called Historical Romance, but its subgenre, Regency Romance. Heyer reportedly had a  brother who was chronically ill, so to amuse him, she wrote a series of stories. Inspired by Jane Austen, Heyer wrote stories that took place in England during the Regency Era.

Since she lived a hundred years later than Austen, Heyer had the disadvantage of having to research the manners and mores of the time. However, according to rumor, her grandmother who lived with her family was raised during the late Regency and became Heyer's model for her Regency speech and customs.

Some critics find Heyer's novels filled with too much detail, others consider her detail to be her greatest asset, with her wit coming in as a close second. She wrote not only Regencies, but other historical novels including one about William the Conqueror hailed as one of the most historically accurate writings about the long ago King of England. She also wrote contemporary novels and thrillers.

I admit I haven't read all of her books, but I plan to. Of those I have read, here are my favorites:
Cotillion, The Corinthian, A Civil Contract, Venetia, and Beauvallet.

This question of who our favorite Heyers books are came up in my Regency historical research group, and here were our group answers as to the number of people who rated their top 5 favorites:

10 -- Venetia
9 -- The Grand Sophy
9 -- Devil’s Cub
8 -- Cotillion
7 -- The Unknown Ajax
7 -- Sylvester
6 -- Frederica
6 -- Arabella
4 -- The Nonesuch
4 -- Faro’s Daughter
3 -- These Old Shades
3 -- The Talisman Ring
3 -- The Reluctant Widow
3 -- Masqueraders
2 -- The Toll Gate
2 -- The Quiet Gentleman
2 -- The Convenient Marriage
2 -- Spanish Bride
2 -- Regency Buck
2 -- Black Sheep
1 -- The Corinthian
1 -- Lady of Quality
1 -- False Colours
1 -- Civil Contract
1 -- An Infamous Army
1 -- Why Shoot a Butler?

So, to celebrate, the anniversary of Georgette Heyer's birth, name your five favorite Heyer books.


Jenny Allworthy said...

Happy Birthday Georgette Heyer! What a lovely post! I adore Venetia and Arabella, amongst quite a few of the others you mentioned. Anyone who would like to sign a petition to bring her works to film is welcome!

Nutty said...

A very favorite author of mine!
Here's my list.

1. Devil's Cub
2. These Old Shades
3. The Grand Sophy
4. Arabella
5. ......All The Rest!! =)

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great woman. I'll have to check out the books for myself now. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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