Sunday, October 3, 2010

Discovering Georgette Heyer

I stumbled upon author Georgette Heyer about a year ago as I was perusing my usual Janeite blogs.  As I was completely at a loss as to who Ms. Heyer was at the time, I was intrigued and took one of the blog's book recommendations and went with it--or rather it sat.  Dustily.  On my nightstand for something close to 6 or 9 months.  Sigh.  (Forgive me, Georgette?  Forgive me all other books sitting on said pile for what feels like eons as I repeat readings of Go, Do Go rather than your pages?) 
First, who was Georgette Heyer?  A prolific author (1902-1974) who published Regency romances, detective fiction and historical fiction novels that numbered fifty-six novels during her lifetime!  Her writing is witty, her characters a bit outlandish.  Both of which make her writing style memorable to a reader. A simple example is the title of this book, my first read of a Heyer romance--The Grand Sophy.  Not just Sophy, but the grand Sophy a girl who gets her nose into every other character's business and gets away with it during a time when she probably shouldn't have. Did I mention how everyone adores her?  At one point, one of her gentleman friends calls her "The Grand Sophy" as if nothing can compare to the incredible Sophy Stanton-Lacy.  Thus, a prime example of Heyer's delightful character's and writing style. (Also of note to some readers might be that Heyer's romance novels also of the family friendly romance category.)

Here is the description of the plot for The Grand Sophy (Ahem, from Amazon. I don't have it in me to write my own right now. And it is cleverly done. :)).
"Sophy sets everything right for her desperate family in one of Georgette Heyer's most popular Regency romances. When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Sophy discovers that her aunt's family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: Ceclia is in love with a poet, Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee, her uncle is of no use at all, and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom. By the time she's done, Sophy has commandeered Charles's horses, his household, and finally, his heart."
I was prompted to pick up Heyer's book when I did because Laurel Ann at Austenprose was hosting a Celebrating Heyer month (August) and I followed along to some extent.  One of the guest blogger's noted this about Heyer, "Jane Austen seldom described her world in detail, but Georgette Heyer more than filled in those gaps." (Vic @ Jane Austen's World on Austenprose)  I thought this quote rather summed up my intrigue into Heyer's books.  Sophy is over the top fun.  It took me about 25-50 pages to get into Heyer's writing style. I'm not sure if it was me trying to read at night as school was getting into swing or if her sentence structure slowed me down at first. I also found myself writing down phrases and other colloquialisms that I needed to look up.  I was prepared for this step, having read that Heyer, even though she wrote in the 20th Century, she wrote historically accurate plots that included correct colloquialisms from the Regency time.  This style is quite different than Jane Austen, who did not use many of these colloquialisms in her writing.  And while different than Jane Austen, it was quite delightful--as a lover of all things JA or even simply just Regency or Georgian, I ate it up.  I know enough of my history to follow the historical accuracies and I relish the details that allow one to look into that time and into everyday life.  (Wow.  Think I just summed up why I was an English major, too.)

So, long-winded story short, I discovered Georgette Heyer and am looking forward to reading more books by her.  And much to my delight, I won a Heyer romance from the Austenprose celebration in August.  I am excited to try Friday's Child sometime soon.  :) That and I've discovered my next piece of non-fiction reading:  Georgette Heyer’s Regency World: The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period, by Jennifer Kloeste. :) 

1 comment:

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

I'm so glad you enjoy The Grand Sophy. It is one of Heyer's most popular works. Sophy is just such and inspiring character. I really appreciate her outgoing personality and outrageous stunts. One of my favorite Heyer novels too.