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Georgette Heyer

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  398 ratings  ·  90 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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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 biograp
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
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
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
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 is
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
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
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.
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
Christmas Carol  ꧁꧂
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 "he
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ness Kingsley
I love Georgette Heyer's books. I do not hide this fact. I love the wit. The heroes. The heroines. The side characters. The plots.

And so I decided to read this biography.

Previously, I've read a book about the personal life of a favourite author and it rather put me off the woman. But in this case?

No. Not at all.

Georgette Heyer seems are rather ... intriguing, paradoxical person. She was beset with financial woes (it was a little depressing to be constantly reading about them - and it must have
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book gets a 5 for sheer enjoyment of topic. I'm a huge Georgette Heyer fan, and I have read many of her Regency novels, so it was very interesting to learn about Heyer's 50 year writing career, her relationship with publishers, her relationship with friends and family, where her ideas came from, and even a view into the very private world of Georgette Heyer herself. Highly recommended!
Linda Baker
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I am latecomer to the Regency "romances" of Georgette Heyer but have been reading both the books and listening to the audio books available on audible. I had read many of her mysteries years ago but they had not prepared me for the wit and charm of her comedies of manners set in the Regency period. As I am one of those people who like to know something about the personal lives of those authors I admire, I was surprised to learn that Georgette Heyer had made it her mission to obscure any informat ...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, the ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This Georgette Heyer biography gives a look at the woman and the author. Most times either personal life or work life override the other. Not here. There is depth to the origin of her tremendous fount of imagination and skill within words that were both so mentored by her father. Jennifer Kloester traces these early years well within excellent record. Georgette's self-starting habits of publishing early and often are absolutely phenomenal. The put-downs that revise to present comparisons of beha ...more
Jenny Brown
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This isn't as insightful a biography as the one by Jane Aiken Hodge. Though it claims to have new material, it wasn't evident. Once the story got past Heyer's youth, it became a dull recitation of the facts of her business relationship with her various publishers.

The author ignores or brushes off Heyer's notorious snobbism and antisemitism, which were all the more significant because she came from a barely middle class family with recent Jewish roots. (Her grandfather was a Russian Jewish immigr
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Georgette Heyer wrote her first book at 17, published it at 19, and continued to publish until her death. She is one of the 20th century's best selling authors and her books continue to sell like hotcakes nearly 40 years after her death. Yet she was so reticent she did only one interview during her life and refused to be photographed for publicity purposes. She is one of my favorite writers. Ever.

Kloester's biography covers the A-Z of Heyer's life and does not skimp on the personal, but it focu
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer Kloester builds a portrait of Georgette Heyer by focussing on the relationship between her publishers as revealed by their correspondence. George was a private person and did not court publicity about her private life and thoughts. At first I wondered whether Jennifer's approach to her subject would work, but I soon found myself fully immersed in George's literary and home life. George was a very intelligent writer, who researched carefully and slowly came to understand her own literary ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed, exhaustive and balanced, but ultimately a very pedestrian biography. Made me realise the difference between an adequate biographer, who simply recounts the facts, and a really great one like Claire Tomalin, who truly makes her subjects come alive.
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
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very fascinating and well-written biography about one of my favourite authors. Georgette Heyer was an amazing writer, getting her first book published at age 18. This book is quite long, but I was never bored. I especially found the parts about what it was like to be writing and publishing books during the World Wars interesting. Reading this made me want to read even more of her books. I'm slowly but surely getting through them (she wrote more than 50). Recommended for anyone who like ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: georgette-heyer
I did not yet explore how the knowledge about the author affects the reading of a book, so I shall confine to the boundaries of this book for now. This book brought to life a being that I so adored, respected and cherished. From the reason for blatant absence of any seeming influence of the two world wars Miss Heyer witnessed to her views and ideas about her contemporary world, the book in a simple flowing language sketched her quite vividly. Miss Heyer is no longer a remote figure whose genius ...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. During my time abroad 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, I had my first two books: 'Georgette Heyer

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