Wow. Ok, Georgette Heyer has finally impressed me.
Despite the unfortunate name of the title character, Sylvester is a brilliant cross of Jane Austen a...moreWow. Ok, Georgette Heyer has finally impressed me.
Despite the unfortunate name of the title character, Sylvester is a brilliant cross of Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde: witty, comical, plenty of misunderstanding, and a variety of social disasters. In short, a comedy of manners.
Sylvester is aptly compared to Pride and Prejudice, but I saw a lot of the silliness of Northanger Abbey as well. And frankly, I think I like Phoebe and Sylvester better than Darcy and Elizabeth! Darcy and Elizabeth seem stiff and cold in comparison to the palpable frustration of Phoebe and Sylvester.
As a writer, Heyer is at the top of her game. I love how she puts you in the mind of so many characters to illuminate various perspectives, building such a solid cast that you can't help but be consumed by the story. And you know what? I laughed out loud! That practically never happens for me!
And seriously, all the way through, I couldn't stop picturing Ian Somerhalder's eyebrows.
Oh man, this really needs to be made into a movie.(less)
My second attempt at Heyer was no good. She can be quite entertaining, but good grief, sometimes sooo tedious!
It is unfortunate that her opening info-...moreMy second attempt at Heyer was no good. She can be quite entertaining, but good grief, sometimes sooo tedious!
It is unfortunate that her opening info-dumps are painfully long and so thick in Regency stylization because it requires quite a but of effort to wade into and get absorbed by the story.
Once the action and dialogue finally begin, it's much easier to get sucked into the lives of her characters, which as I said before, are clearly the strongest feature of her writing.
The story of Frederica was likewise interesting and well paced, but Frederica herself was kind of annoying. She would not stop jabbering! Rather aimlessly, too.
And as for romance, Heyer is severely obtuse about it. Both books of hers I've read wait until literally the last page to show any spark of affection between the main character and the love interest, but that's the ridiculous part: it's almost entirely begrudging for both of them! While its nice that her couples establish strong foundations of friendship and dependability for their relationships, it irritates me that one or the other has to be almost violently forced into conceding to the match. It's a very unsatisfactory way to end a story.
Finally, I feel likes there needs to be a glossary for all the Regency slang that is used. It's not hard to figure out most of it, but thank goodness for ebook readers with dictionaries, because I look up a lot of words! Clearly, Heyer has a vast store of knowledge on the period, so footnotes and even pictures would be extremely helpful, as well, if not adding to the story itself.
Despite my lukewarm feelings, I'll probably end up reading more from her.(less)
Apparently I've been living under a rock, since I'd somehow never heard of Georgette Heyer and her 50+ regency books (that have been around for 40+ ye...moreApparently I've been living under a rock, since I'd somehow never heard of Georgette Heyer and her 50+ regency books (that have been around for 40+ years) until now.
The Grand Sophy seems to be a fan favorite, and it was nice enough (though not stellar) so I'm not sure if everything else will be downhill from here.
What I really enjoyed most were the characters; Sophy in particular. In fact, im quite jealous of her. She is so authentically charming and self-confident that you realize how misused these terms have become. It's been a long time since I've seen someone described as such without being more than a little selfish and egotistical as well. The difference seems to be that rather than acquiring these traits through parental fawning and indulgence, she has come by them through significant trust and responsibility. She was treated as capable and fulfilled that expectation. And her many years of living amid a wide variety of cultures, and mainly interacting with adults skilled at diplomacy and political savvy surely contributed to her ease of manner as well.
I feel like I'm reading way too far into this, but it really makes perfect sense, and I totally appreciate an author that can back up their character's personality like that.
But coming back to the story, it wasn't until the end when all of Sophy's machinations seemed to turn reckless and chaotic, that she was the least likable. And the way her part of the story ended was just as off-putting.
I'm beginning to realize that I don't judge the fairy tale stories nearly as harshly as everything else. I think it's because, by their very nature, f...moreI'm beginning to realize that I don't judge the fairy tale stories nearly as harshly as everything else. I think it's because, by their very nature, fairy tales are absurdly unrealistic.
The childhood acceptance of these stories is hard to abandon, even in adulthood, because they are so firmly ingrained as to be almost a permanent willing suspension of disbelief. So yeah, no big deal if they fall in love at first sight, because that was set down as standard for the genre hundreds of years ago.
But this is allowed only as long as the story stays sufficiently tale-ish. The minute it starts to get realistic or relevant, there are no more exceptions-- it's all or nothing.
So yeah, this book is complete frippery, but it works, and its adorable.(less)
Within, maybe, two pages, this book made me want to ralph.
So many elements were directly pulled out of Austen books, and then the thinly veiled Oklah...moreWithin, maybe, two pages, this book made me want to ralph.
So many elements were directly pulled out of Austen books, and then the thinly veiled Oklahoma! line? Give me a break!
I am not a fan of Austen fan-fic on almost any level (there are exceptions), and this seemed to be the worst: oh look, there's Mr. Collins; hey, isn't that Mr. Elliott?; didn't that happen in Emma? etc. It was absolutely shameless.
Luckily, the plagiarism stopped being quite so obvious after the first chapter, and although many uncanny similarities remained, the book did take its own path.
And really, I have to admit I kind of liked it, in that fluffy, chic-lit sort of way. Most of all, I liked the two main characters and their silliness (the cow song! Heehee).
Anyway, in the end I was won over, but oh wow, it was cheesy.(less)
It totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? Unbe...moreIt totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? Unbelievable! Plus, I feel swindled, because Love Lies Bleeding is one of my favorite flowers and so under-appreciated as it is. It's a travesty, I tell you!(less)
The only thing YA about this book is its predictability. If even * I * can guess all the twists halfway through, then it's not a very difficult read.
W...moreThe only thing YA about this book is its predictability. If even * I * can guess all the twists halfway through, then it's not a very difficult read.
What I didn't expect, was that this story equates to a hard R in movie rating terms. And not in the raunchy teenager type of way, but in the dark, disturbing, ugly sort of way. It fit the story, but aiming it at a YA audience was inappropriate. (less)
Update: Seriously, though, McClure's being tongue-in-cheek calling a book Dusty Britches, right? With a...moreHahaha! I gotta read this just for its title!!
Update: Seriously, though, McClure's being tongue-in-cheek calling a book Dusty Britches, right? With a cowboy named Ryder and a banker's son named Cash, etc? Right??
Okay, so assuming she is intentionally being a bit silly, I went into it with expectations of cliched, contrived, and absolutely corny cowboy romance, and boy, did it deliver.
This was like an extended version of Oklahoma! in so many ways.
The one thing I'm noticing about McClure's books (this is the 3rd I've read) is that her male leads are pretty rough with their ladies. Not abusive, mind you, but gruff and domineering and they're gonna kiss that girl's brains out, by golly! (less)