Madcap kidnapping, rogues and roués, delightfully plucky heroines – reading Georgette Heyer is like experiencing Jane Austen with a dash of the ludicrous. And by that, I mean absurdity at its best. Her heroes, ever enigmatic and dashing, are a paragon of English nobility: charming, sardonic, and rimed in a polished veil of ice. They’re unreal but somehow, through their odd perfection, vivacious. And that’s not even the best part. Heyer’s dialogue is more than witty repartees, it’s laugh-out-loud, embarrassed to read while in public, dialogue.
I’ve only devoured two of her works and already I find myself employing all sorts of “stifle” techniques in order to not sound like a howler monkey when I’m in the same room as my husband. Being thus amused is a rare treat for me and designates an even rarer accolade: a permanent spot on my bookshelf. Which leaves one sentiment . . .
With all the damned books I’ve read, I can’t help feeling that my introduction was pitifully late in coming because really, how could I have not known about her before? She’s fabulous! Unlike Austen, who wrote contemporaneously (and who, yes, serial fans, is also fabulous), Heyer created exquisitely researched novels long after Almack’s and Vauxhall were but a memory. They’re so rich, filled with enough cant and period details to leave me running toward the dictionary – and often, supplying you with my Georgian word of the day. An education and convenience – I love it!
Interesting Heyer Facts
- Born in 1902 in Wimbledon, London, her writing career began in 1921 when she published her first novel at a very tender age. The Black Moth, written to amuse her convalescent, hemophiliac brother, Boris (that image alone is quite a charmer!) sets the tone for her subsequent novels.
- She was an intensely private person and in the world of fiction, a recluse. She refused interviews and publicity tours, but despite these eccentricities, was a bestseller most of her life.
- She also wrote mystery and thrillers
- At the time of her death, 48 of her books were still in print.
Georgian word of the day: Lawks!
Alteration of Lord. A suprised, vulgar outburst, as in “Lawks, he’s touching my petticoat!”