A.M. Riley's Reviews > The Grand Sophy

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
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May 14, 10

Read from May 12 to 14, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is generally listed as one of the best Georgette Heyer books and it is fantastic, if you love regency romance. I gave it four stars because of a couple of specific issues which I will mention below beneath the SPOILER stars.

Her stories and language bring an era to life which, according to my history books, existed very briefly before The War. The Grand Manor period, which seems to be nostalgically longed for by everyone but me.

I mean, ick. Snobbery and too much obsession with gossip and parties. The overwhelming infantilization of women. puke.

Once I had suspended my distaste for the reality, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. She is called the Queen of Regency Romance for good reason. Her characters are clever, sweet and destined for each other. The most sex you will find is a fierce kiss at the end, and I was surprised to discover that that was all I wanted. It is a good escape book and I flew through it in one afternoon when I was sick. Except for a couple of issues, I'd heartily recommend it. Those issues are spoilers, though, so beware and don't read below the stars...


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1.) Terrifyingly anti-Semitic! I mean, horrible! Dear God, is it even legal to publish this stuff in the United States?

There are several occasions when an underage man who has been running about gambling (which was apparently OKAY back then) admits having touched bottom to the point of 'going to the Jews'. When we finally meet one of these, he is described as follows:

"...the door was slowly opened to reveal thin, swarthy individual, with long greasy curls, a semitic nose, and an ingratiating leer. He was dressed in a suit of rusty black, and nothing about him suggested sufficient affluence to lend as much as five hundred pence to anyone."

Revolting. You may say that this reflects the opinions of an era. Maybe you are right, in which case THANK GOD that era is dead.

2.) FIRST COUSINS MARRYING????? Huge gigantic squick. If I'd had any idea I would have never read the book. Blech blech, I'm still rinsing my brain out. Was this common back then? It was probably the obvious romantic connection, but I didn't see it because it is, to me, completely unacceptable. NO WONDER the era is over with. Inbreeding and prejudice and making women weak to the point that they can't care for their own sick children?

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