Georgette Heyer: The Biography of A Bestseller by Jennifer Kloester
Arrow Books 2011
394 pages (plus appendices)
5/5 stars

I don’t usually read biographies, but there are exceptions. Georgette Heyer is one of them: I’d previously read Jane Aiken Hodge’s The Private World of Georgette Heyer (1984), but it took me some time to finally pick up Kloester’s work. Kloester is the leading expert in Heyer and her Regency world, and the author of another work on Heyer’s writing, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World (2005).

For those for whom the name Georgette Heyer (1902–1974) rings no bells, she is the author of a number of titles including contemporary fiction, detective novels, short stories, and historical novels. She is best known for her twenty-two Regency-set romances, and she is considered to be the mother of that subgenre. Her novels have crucially shaped the way Regencies are still written today, and her novels continue to sell steadily.

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Georgette Heyer: THE GRAND SOPHY

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
William Heinemann 1950
328 pages
4/5 stars

Oh boy, it’s been a while since I’ve read Heyer! And I’d forgotten how much I love her. Grand Sophy did not disappoint, and it’s certainly not considered one of her better novels for nothing.

If you’re not familiar with Georgette Heyer, she’s the mother of Regency romance and, as I tend to tell people, as close to Jane Austen as you get without reading Austen. Sure, Heyer lacks a lot of the social commentary of Austen, but her style and wit is delightful and her heroines have character. Basically she writes some of the best banter, and her novels are so meticulously researched that if she makes a statement on a historical fact, you know she’s got backup for that.

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