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Georgette Heyer

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  520 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Who was the real Georgette Heyer?

Georgette Heyer famously said, "I am to be found in my work."

Who was this amazing writer who was so secretive about her personal life that she never gave an interview? Where did she get her ideas? Were there real-life models for her ultra-manly heroes, independent-minded heroines, irascible guardians, and clever villains? What motivated her
Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Sourcebooks (first published October 6th 2011)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  520 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Oh, Netgalley, I kind of wish I hadn't read this.

Don't get me wrong; it's not a bad book. I didn't hate the writing, and it didn't make me hate Georgette Heyer; it also didn't knock the acclaimed Regency (etc) author off any pedestal, since I didn't have her on one to begin with. I've only read (listened to) one book of hers so far, and kind of hated that, although I do have a box full of paperbacks I fully plan to read. I've heard many wonderful things about the books, and I chose this biogra
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Georgette Heyer has been one of my favourite writers since my mother gave me Friday's Child when I was about thirteen and told me that it had always made her laugh. Heyer's Regency and Georgian romances are the books I turn to when I am feeling sad or unwell, even though I don't generally read books which would fit within the romance genre. They are the literary equivalent of a cup of sweet black tea: warm, comfortable and reviving. Many of them make me laugh out loud. Most of them make me smile
Nick Imrie
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Jennifer Kloester has done some heroic work here - it's a very creditable attempt to make an engaging story out of what was a very ordinary life.

Georgette Heyer was born into a happy, upper-middle-class family. She had a loving, harmonious marriage and one child. She wrote some excellent books. Her life was touched by tragedy but no more than any life: she lost a beloved father while still a young woman, but made it through the war largely unscathed, with both brothers and husband coming safely
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While I understand why so many reviewers gave this book 3 or 4 stars, I can't do it. I enjoyed reading it too much to give it anything less than 5 stars! For all its flaws, Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester is a fascinating biography about an author I deeply adore, even after discovering her feet of clay. And Georgette Heyer definitely had feet of clay. From her inability to manage her finances to her weird marriage to her extreme shyness, Heyer was a strange, snobbish woman who at the same t ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
If you ever feel like, as a writer, feeling like you’re a hack who doesn’t even write that fast, I do suggest you read this biography of Georgette Heyer — or just take a look at her publishing history. Holy wow. She started early and kept on going and going and going, producing books which people love to this day almost right up to her death. And yeah, she had a formula for the Regency books, in a way, but they still remained full of wit and humour which makes each one feel fresh, and she did ve ...more
Susan in NC
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this insightful biography of one of my favorite authors, which I read with the Heyer Fans group.

I’ve not read many biographies, but this may prompt me to read more about favorite authors and historical figures. I guess I was afraid I’d find out they were awful or had feet of clay! But Heyer, though intensely private (which I can respect, in this tell-all social media age I find baffling), was indeed a witty, clever correspondent and incredibly hard-working writer. Especially as
Abigail Bok
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Biographers of writers (and other creative types) face a dilemma: to what extent should they engage with their subject's art? It's not a simple problem. The art is what makes the person a worthy subject for biography, but one can all too easily fall into the trap of using the person's life as a vehicle for explaining their art. The person is simultaneously more and less than the art he or she produces. Tainting the art with too much biography is reductive, and so is interpreting the person's lif ...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
All biographies of GH are going to suffer because of GH's desire for privacy & her original manuscripts being lost during WW2. I really wish she had agreed to having her voice recorded - I would have loved to hear it!

The picture that does emerge is of a driven workaholic who was the main support of her extended family for most of her life. Her huge workload didn't even allow her the time to get rid of publishers she was unhappy with & manage her financial affairs properly.

I'm glad to "hear her v
One of the reasons Georgette's characters live for her readers is that they lived so vividly for her.

I think it is a book for fans (or readers) of Georgette Heyer. It is hard to me to imagine that someone who doesn't like her novels could read this biography with much interest. Furthermore, I love Heyer's books and still I think it wasn't a very engaging, gripping book. Perhaps, it was so because Heyer was a very secretive person or that her life was rather without many events. Although it
Lady Wesley
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a Georgette Heyer fan like I am, you'll enjoy this book. I've given it four stars, as it's well done as a biography, but I enjoyed it only about three stars worth. I would have liked a bit more discussion of her most popular books and a bit less discussion of her schedule and her constant worries about money.

If you've always wondered where she got her plots, I'm afraid the answer is, "she just made them up." She started out writing mostly mysteries, and a few historicals, before she d
Sherwood Smith
Kloester had access to tons of extra papers--but none of them really grant any insight into Heyer, who burned her drafts, and her private correspondence. Who only gave one interview, and that on her own terms.

So the biographer is left to guess at Heyer's process and her emotional development by extrapolating possible guesses from the author's early fiction (always dicey at best) and trying to guess at her thinking through the medium of a long correspondence with publishers. It is fairly clear fr
Christy B
A decent biography about an insufferable person.

I'm not big on Georgette Heyer's books anymore, but I'm always interested in learning about the real lives of authors. Well, Ms. Heyer and I would not have been friends, let's just say that.

The book in itself had problems keeping my attention. Dry biographies that basically just state fact after fact bore me to tears. I can find that stuff out on the internet. I never felt engaged, and often skimmed pages.

The book was highly researched, and it show
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Georgette Heyer's novels since I was in my early teens and they are still a pleasure to read nearly fifty years later. I was aware that Heyer refused to be interviewed and I knew next to nothing about the rest of her life so I looked forward to reading this biography. I was not disappointed as it is compulsive reading. The author is enthusiastic about her subject and hugely knowledgeable but this does not mean she glosses over Heyer's imperfections.

Here is all the background to
This book sated my curiosity for Heyer, the person and the Regency Romance Master. Now I just need to somehow find her out-of-print contemporary novels and I'll be a happy clam. ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-now
Reading Regency novels used to mean laughing through a Georgette Heyer. Reading an authorized, somewhat scholarly, biography of her life a hypnotic bore. Surely Jennifer Kloester, with carte blanche to Heyer’s papers, letters, contracts, family and publishing history would also delight readers with some of the same tongue in cheek humor. Not at all.

But, having read Heyer through high school, college, seminary, motherhood, divorce etc., I knew the only way to get my sealegs back after the biograp
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Georgette Heyer was the first child of middle-class parents, was very well educated by them (she never attended college), and began making up stories to amuse her younger brothers. In 1921, when she was just 17, the first of her novels (The Black Moth) was published. Since then, her novels have been continuously in print, even during world wars and when paper was extremely restricted through rationing. Writing, on average, at least a novel a year (along with innumerable short stories for ladies' ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for die-hard Heyer fans. Incredibly detailed, the book tells of Georgette’s life through a meticulously researched and fascinating read. Apart from the chronology of Heyer’s book writing and process, there is the biographical aspect that brings you right into her life.

Who was this clever author who’s ongoing captivating writing has us all hooked? What was she like? In GEORGETTE HEYER, author Jennifer Kloester reveals a woman who, contrarily to her very reserved exterio
This is a perfectly competent biography that unfortunately failed to convince me that Heyer was that fascinating as a person. I read it because I'm always interested in the business and process of writing, and there were sections here that shone on that level--particularly the descriptions of Heyer's research process. But ultimately this leaned too heavily into a recitation of dinner parties and tax woes and away from literary analysis for my preferences. Worth reading if your level of innate in ...more
Ms. Heyer was born in 1902 to an upper middle-class British family. She loved to watch the stage coaches come rolling down the street, an image which stayed with her for the rest of her days and helped her Regency world come to life. A bright and imaginative child, her parents allowed her imagination to run free and her father encouraged and influenced her story telling. At the age of 19 she published her first book, written to amuse her invalid brother Boris. She published one or two novels a y ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: True Georgette Heyer fans
Shelves: non-fiction
Unlike other reviewers, I found myself liking Georgette Heyer after reading this biography by Jennifer Kloester. I enjoyed reading Heyer's own "voice" through her numerous letters to friends and publishers. She had spunk and a signature biting wit and more than a sprinkling of self-importance. If not for these qualities, she wouldn't have written so acidly to her purported plagiarists (Barbara Cartland & Kathleen Lindsay) though apparently, her need for privacy outweighs any need to sue, therefo ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm always worried, when reading a biography of someone I admire, that it will put me off. Absolutely not with this one, which did something I didn't think possible - made me admire Heyer even more.

What I enjoyed most was that it concentrated on the thing I was interested in - her work. Yes, there was personal stuff and some real incite into her character, but it was how she worked, how she came up with her stories, and how she dealt with her publishers that I found fascinating - and not just b
Mary Pagones
Jun 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed many a Heyer Regency-Frederica is my favorite thus far-and the reading of this book was sparked out of annoyance in a debate on an online forum about Heyer's antisemitism/classism and so forth. Although the fact Heyer wrote a horrifically antisemitic scene in The Grand Sophy is undeniable, as is her focus upon the ton of her created version of Regency society, I wanted to know more beyond vague Twitter threads who this woman was. Was she really ideologically antisemetic, or simply r ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: libby, biography
So another ebook (free, thanks Libby) finished. Almost 19 hours (about 2 of my work days) of reading.
I am stuck home so this was quite an excellent time to tackle this opus.
The author did a nice job introducing me to the real G. Heyer.
If I had the book I would definitely underline my favorite parts.
One point I totally agree with GH on is the privacy she insisted on during her career.
She worked so hard at her craft and very rightly guarded her family life as personal and private. If she ha
Aug 29, 2020 marked it as dnf-in-2020
As fascinating as the yellow pages.
Dilly Dalley
Early in 2018, I joined the Jane Austen society of Australia. While I was at their most excellent bi-annual conference in Canberra, I came across a book of Georgette Heyer appreciation essays. Given I read through most, if not all, of the Regency romances when I was in high school, I thought “I wonder if her novels have stood the test of time?”. According to the book of appreciation, they had. So, I re-read Devil’s Cub and ordered this biography from the library.

I haven’t reviewed Devil’s cub y
Irene Davis
A detailed biography of the author who invented Regency romance as we know them today, including many excerpts of her entertaining and witty personal letters.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's important to separate the quality of this biography from what you make of its subject. Jennifer Kloester has researched and written as good a biography as any writer could wish for. She hasn't left any stone unturned, although the professional neautrality tends to slip a little at times. The critical article of GH by Marghanita Laski is misrepresented, for example, as belittling the author, when in fact she made some valid points: that the same 'props' are used again and again in the novels ...more
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fair-albion
This book, with its many excerpts from GH's letters, cemented my feeling that, much though I love many of Heyer's books, we would Not Have Been Friends. This even though we both like Capitalising Things for emphasis!

It's a fun read for Heyer nerds, especially for those who've already read The Private World of Georgette Heyer. Kloester stakes some bold claims, at one point delicately skirting around accusing Hodge of inventing a source. She also argues that Penhallow wasn't written as a contract
Barb in Maryland
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Absolutely essential reading for die-hard Heyer fans. Ms Kloester has been given access to a wealth of source material--letters, especially--that had previously unavailable, enabling her to write a richly detailed biography of this famous writer.

There are delights on almost every page. And the photographs are marvelous. I will admit that I am not sure I would have liked Georgette Heyer in person. She was a woman with a strong personality and definite opinions on class and one's place in society.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was fascinated, but would only recommend this to a diehard Georgette Heyer fan. It's obviously been very well researched and I was eagerly anticipating the points where Heyer would write each of my favourites, but for anyone who doesn't love her books it would be heavy going. ...more
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I was born in Melbourne, Australia, but have lived and worked in Papua New Guinea and the Middle East and travelled to more than thirty countries. While living overseas I studied as an off-campus student with Deakin University and achieved my BA (Hons) while raising my three children.

After graduating with a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne, my first two books: 'Georgette Heyer's Reg


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