[DWJ] Georgette Heyer books

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Jan 19 15:50:39 EST 2008

Kait wrote:

>Thank you, Minnow! This is a great help.

I wish I'd had something of the kind when I was looking for Heyer in the
first place.

>I recognised a title I read and dislilked: The Quiet Gentleman. I didn't
>like the hero.

He's one of the less-successful, I think.  Not a complete pain like one or
two of them, who need smacking, but not as immediately likeable as some of
them either.

>Sometimes a good heroine makes up for that. But I don't even remember this

Depending on the age you were when you read it, you might well not have
noticed her particularly.  Drusilla Morville is one of Heyer's best
heroines to *me*, and the reason is that when the slightly boring Gervase
is rushing about Knowing All And Saying Nothing in the annoying way that
Heyeroes do so that Heyer can have a Grand Explanation at the end when he
Unveils The Villain and Solves The Mystery, Drusilla bites her tongue and
says nothing whatever, even though she knows as much as he does and has
worked it all out for herself.  She reckons that it's not her business.
She only says what she thinks right at the end, and then she *does*, quite
suddenly.  I really liked her mum, but she hardly appears.

I found it in my teens and it took me several re-reads to come to like her,
though.  I didn't like *April Lady* or *A Civil Contract* either, and now I
rate them high.  Well, higher than most books by other authors, anyhow.

>I wish I had read more Heyer titles, though. But what I've picked up lately
>seems to be the ones I like least.

That's a shame, because there are some lovely *bits* in all of them: minor
characters who are exactly right, or incidents that make me catch my breath
and want to howl with laughter, or turns of phrase that stick with me.  It
doesn't happen so much with the actively-historical like *The Conqueror*
and *Royal Escape*, and not at all in *My Lord John*, but her later-written
books are full of observation, especially the regencies.

Looking through and trying not to remember what I read most recently (I
always like best the book I read last) I think there is a small group I'd
be sorry not to have available to pick up and re-read when I have a cold.
I've put some stars beside them below: the more stars the more I like them,

>> These Old Shades        1926    1756            *
>> Devil's Cub             1932    1780            *

These two are rescued from being rather standard stuff by the minor
characters, mostly, and a few ridiculous situations.

>> The Convenient Marriage 1934    1776            **

This is Heyer starting to subvert a bit.  The heroine doesn't sit still to
be abducted by the villain: she ups and knocks him out with a poker
instead.  Yay!

>> The Talisman Ring       1936    1793            **

Again, subversion: we have a Classic H/H Romance going on and being rather
ridiculous, and another couple being real people and wildly funny.

Then she started to get into her stride as far as I am concerned!

>> Faro's Daughter         1941    1795            **
>> Friday's Child          1944    1816-1817       ***
>> Arabella                1949    1817            *

>> The Grand Sophy         1950    1816            ***
>> The Quiet Gentleman     1951    1816            *
>> Cotillion               1953    1816            ***
>> The Toll-Gate           1954    1816            **
>> Bath Tangle             1955    1816            **
>> April Lady              1957    1813            *
>> Sylvester               1957    1817-18         ***
>> Venetia                 1958    1818            ***
>> The Unknown Ajax        1959    1817            **

>> A Civil Contract        1961    1814-15         **
>> The Nonesuch            1962    1816/17         **
>> Frederica               1965    1818            ***
>> Black Sheep             1966    1816/17         **

Everyone's mileage on Heyer may vary, but that's how my list would go
today.  Tomorrow it might be different.  I reckon, though, that an author
who wrote as many as twenty books that find their way into my 'keep it'
shelves is worth knowing.

obDWJ, she has all the regencies and historicals except *The Great
Roxhythe* which she read but didn't want anyone to bother finding for her.
But I have probably said that already several times...  :-)


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