Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Georgette Heyer

I've gotten some further questions on Georgette Heyer, The author I mention last time in my blog. Since I'm on a mad for her and her books, I have absolutely no problem talking about her!

You can read a mini bio on Wiki , among other sites, so I shan't bore you with regurgitated facts about her life.

Instead I will share with you how I first met her works.

First I must share a confession, what my dear hubby has referred to as my dangerous infection: I suddenly like romance books.

Never really liked them before, and like most folks who don't read romance I was snobbish about it, and "pitied " romance readers for their poor taste in books ( with the caveat that at least they read books)

I take it back... yes there is some really trashy stuff out there, but some of it is quite good. Or at least decent reads and it must serve a need, or romance books wouldn't be the best selling genre in the US. (seriously, go check it out.. you are on the Internet already!!)

I could write several blog entries on why I think they are needed and my somewhat humorous musings on the "formula" of romances (My page 200 formula) but I am getting off track here.

Anyway, 4 months or so ago, I ran out of my book early at work, and there happens to be pile of books in the break room for folks to read. They are used paperbacks and since most of my fellow co-workers are female, most of the pile is romance. I picked up a book that happened to be a period romance, and quite to my surprise enjoyed it. That made me dig through the pile every few days and read another one.

I learned very quickly that I like historical the best, and regencies in peculiar. ( 1795 to approx 1840 is generally considered "regency" though the actual event it's named after - when King George's son was made regent was only 12 or so years long) I would go so far as to say the attraction for me is as much period pieces as the romance. I don't really like modern ones so far. (yes I've tried a few out of the work stash..)

I am very very fortunate that in the first few weeks I hit one of Georgette's books, The Devils' Cub.

The book didn't really fit the formula that most of the romances I've read do. The writing was filled with wit and charm and out and out belly laughs in a few places. And no actual sex scenes. Merely "Thoroughly Kissed" Hey, I like sex scenes as much as the next gal, but I don't need them to like a book! And all of her books are thoroughly researched by Heyer. Reading one of her romances is like reading Jane Austen who lived in that time period, but with enough extra in it to actually get some idea of what the heck she's talking about. (Jane didn't have to explain what something was as she lived it)( I adore Jane also so no hate email!)

I liked the book enough to do a quick Internet search on Georgette and learned she's considered the Mom of regency romances if not historical romances. She wrote over 50 books beginning in 1922 and ending only at her death in 1974 ( and one book published posthumously, in 1975)

She also wrote a string of mysteries of which I'm reading my first one right now. So far I like it very well, her characters are just so engaging. She wrote a few historical books of which I've read one so far (Simon the cold heart) which is my least favorite book so far.

So I borrowed a few from the library and liked her even more. So now I'm buying used books as fast as I can... I really like the newest series of reprints of her books, from Sourcebooks Casablanca. They are really well made trade size paperbacks with large printing. The covers are lovely paintings of the time era. Best of all they seem to be re-releasing a Heyer every month! Heaven! So I've been hitting used books store both on-line and off and buying Heyer, preferably in the Sourcebooks edition.

My favorite books so far, in no real order:

Arabella (1949) (OK, this really is my favorite to date!)
Frederica (1965)
The Grand Sophy (1950)
These Old Shades (1926)
Cotillion (1953)
The Convenient Marriage (1934)
The Unknown Ajax (1959)
The Corinthian (1940)
Devil's Cub (1932)

I could go on, at least 10 more, which is about what I've read so far.

If you want a book to start with , any of the above would be excellent, especially Arabella, Frederica, The Grand Sophy or Devil's Cub.

I have no doubt I'll be reading and rereading Heyer for years to come. I already want to reread Devil's Cub and The Convenient Marriage but alas, I don't own them... yet....

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