Today's post is going to be all about one of my fav authors of all time - Georgette Heyer. Fancy a regency romance with a heavy dose of sparking wit and delicious prose? Heyer's books transport you back in time to an era of cotillions , balls, promenades and feature characters that stay on in your mind long after the book is finished. Fans of Jane Austen will definitely enjoy this - in my case more so than Jane Austen's books (sacrilege!).
So settle into a comfortable chair with your favorite beverage and paperback (suggestions below) - you won't regret it.
Top 3 Georgette Heyer Books
1) Grand Sophy
Summary: When the redoubtable Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on business, he leaves his only daughter Sophia with his sister, Elizabeth Rivenhall, in Berkeley Square. Newly arrived from her tour of the Continent, Sophy invites herself into the circle of her relatives. When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the town by storm. Beautiful, gay, impulsive, shockingly direct, Sophy sweeps into elegant London society and scatters conventions and traditions before her like wisps in a windstorm. Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked, and her arrogant stern cousin Charles Rivenhall, the Ombersley heir, vows to rid his family of her meddlesome ways by marrying her off.
But vibrant and irrepressible Sophy was no stranger to managing delicate situations. After all, she'd been keeping opportunistic females away from her widowed father for years. Staying with her relatives could be her biggest challenge yet. But Sophy discovers that her aunt's family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: her aunt's husband is of no use at all, her ruthlessly handsome cousin Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his pedantic bluestocking fiancee Eugenia Wraxton; her lovely cousin Cecelia is smitten with an utterly unsuitable suitor, a beautiful but feather-brained poet; her cousin Herbert is in dire financial straits and has fallen foul of a money-lender; and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom, and Sophy's arrived just in time to save them all.
With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace, Sophy becomes the mainstay of her hilariously bedeviled family, as a horsewoman, social leader and above all, as an ingenious match-maker. Using her signature unorthodox methods, Sophy sets out to solve all of their problems. By the time she's done, Sophy has commandeered household and Charles's horses, but she finds herself increasingly drawn to her eldest cousin. Could it be that the Grand Sophy had finally met her match? Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to grim Eugenia?
Why I love this : This one is impossible to put down and I bet that it will leave you with a smile on your face. Sophy is my favorite regency heroine of all time - intelligent, independent and with a wicked sense of humor.
“I shall be much obliged to you, cousin, if you will refrain from telling my sisters that she has a face like a horse!’
‘But, Charles, no blame attaches to Miss Wraxton! She cannot help it, and that, I assure you, I have always pointed out to your sisters!’
‘I consider Miss Wraxton’s countenance particularly well-bred!’
‘Yes, indeed, but you have quite misunderstood the matter! I meant a particularly well-bred horse!’
'You mean, as I am perfectly aware, to belittle Miss Wraxton!'
'No, no! I am very fond of horses!' Sophy said earnestly.
Before he could stop himself he found that he was replying to this. 'Selina, who repeated the remark to me, is not fond of horses, however, and she-' He broke off, seeing how absurd it was to argue on such a head.
'I expect she will be, when she has lived in the same house with Miss Wraxton for a month or two,' said Sophy encouragingly.”
― Georgette Heyer, The Grand Sophy
2) The Unknown Ajax
Summary: Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by elderly Lord Darracott. Irascible Lord Darracott rules his barony with a firm hand. The tragic accident that killed his eldest son by drowning has done nothing to improve his temper. For now, he must send for the next heir apparent--the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family is never permitted to mention. He also summons his bickering descendants to the rundown family estate. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver's brat and heir apparent...
Why I love this: This book is written in a unique way - I love how the comedy comes from assumptions people have about the heir apparent, Major Hugo. You see their internal dialogues and you chuckle with Hugo when he pranks them into thinking he is a country bumpkin. You find yourself rooting for him and as the story grows you sympathise with all characters irrespective of how they behave in the beginning. This is a fun story with a strong lead and a heroine who speaks her mind - what's not to like !
“I knew you’d make a champion wife, love!’
‘On the contrary! My husband will live under the cat’s foot.’
‘I’m very partial to cats,’ offered the Major hopefully.”
― Georgette Heyer, The Unknown Ajax
“Dash it, coz! Been searching for you all over! Even took a look-in at the church. If I hadn’t thought to ask pretty well everyone I met if they’d seen a mountain moving about on legs I might be hunting for you still!”
― Georgette Heyer, The Unknown Ajax
Summary : "One of you shall have her, and my fortune into the bargain"
Such was the whimsical, some would say outrageous, statement of the ageing Mr Penicuik, to the three of his great-nephews gathered around him.
The future of his vivacious step-daughter, Miss Kitty Charing, was thus assured, provided she married one of the handsome beaux now seeking her hand. But Kitty was in no hurry to conclude such a contract. By hook or by crook she meant to go to London, where anything might happen and very often did...
What I love about this: The hero , Freddy Standen is a very unconventional hero compared to other books. Everyone else is "powerfully built, strong, top notch whip, Boxing champ" - but Freddy reminds me of Bertie Wooster. I love how this story shows people changing their opinion of Freddy - from someone who is a pink of the ton but not very smart to someone who can be trusted and looked up to and is resourceful!
“I daresay Freddy might not be a great hand at slaying dragons- but one has not the smallest need of a man who can kill dragons!”
― Georgette Heyer, Cotillion