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Recommendations? > Where to start with Georgette Heyer?

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy | 27 comments Hello - Several offline folks have recently mentioned Georgette Heyer to me. I have never read any of her work, and I would love to hear from the group if any of you have recommendations for which of Heyer's Regency novels offer a good starting point for getting acquainted with her work. Many thanks!


message 2: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 647 comments Ooh, I envy you being able to start fresh with GH! Where to begin depends a bit on your tastes and interests.
—If you like some suspense with your romance, maybe The Unknown Ajax or even The Reluctant Widow.
—An unconventional, slightly ahistorical heroine okay with you? Try Venetia.
—GH’s books tend to alternate between “alpha” (forceful, masculine) and “beta” (more gentlemanly, witty) heroes. A good example of “alpha” is Regency Buck; a good example of “beta” is The Nonesuch.
—If you like a smattering of historical/political events in your historical romance, maybe Arabella. Or if you like Dickens’s stories of high and low life, try The Foundling.
—A story that’s less romantic but more about real (married) life is A Civil Contract.
—A book that’s on many people’s favorites list is Frederica, but it can read a little slow as a first GH. Maybe read that second, if you find you like her works!


message 3: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey | 264 comments My favorite is Lady of Quality if you are looking for just pure Regency Romance. I love Lord Carlton! It took me a little to warm up to Heyer's books just because there is so much period slang in there but now that is what makes the stories stand out.


message 4: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 673 comments I also love Heyer's 18th-century novels: These Old Shades and its sequel, Devil's Cub; The Convenient Marriage, The Talisman Ring; and, especially, The Masqueraders.

The 18th-century novels are more swashbuckling, the Regencies more comedies of manners, so it depends whether you like your drama more overt or covert. But Heyer has an Austen-like ability to skewer a character in three sentences or less, so she rarely disappoints.


message 5: by Su (new)

Su | 5 comments The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer This was her first book (as I remember reading in her biography The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge )written for her convalescing brother. TBM is a rollicking read & is generally considered a precursor to her less-than-upright hero in These Old Shades.

I'm searching for The Great Roxhythe by Georgette Heyer but haven't found it yet. The newer editions are full of typos. So try the older editions if you can.

A great place to find all her books: http://www.georgette-heyer.com/genera...


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy | 27 comments It's a tough call between swashbuckling and comedies of manners as I enjoy both and absolutely adore Jane Austen! Thank you, Abigail, for nicely breaking down so many options with those helpful descriptions, and to everyone else who has chimed it! You've given me some great ideas.


message 7: by Robin P (new)

Robin P Abigail wrote: "Ooh, I envy you being able to start fresh with GH! Where to begin depends a bit on your tastes and interests.
—If you like some suspense with your romance, maybe The Unknown Ajax or even The Reluc..."



In The Foundling, the male character is hardly even beta, he is almost like a heroine in that he is described as ordinary, small, unsophisticated. So when difficulties come up, he has to use his wits. I loved him and I thought it was an interesting departure from the typical romance hero. It's barely a romance, more a coming of age story. Another one that's not predictable is Cotillion, where there are several options for the heroine to end up with. One I did not like was Cousin Kate, which is more of a Gothic, dark story.

The first Heyer I read was Arabella which is pretty typical in the male/female relationship but very entertaining. I really like how she uses all the slang and expressions from the time.


message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 544 comments I can always tell when my mother's been reading Georgette Heyer. She starts saying "Don't make a cake of yourself!" and calling me "a perfect shatterwit" for forgetting to get the mail.


message 9: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 647 comments That’s a hoot, Kate! I find that my Heyer tone comes out when I disapprove of someone—it is a little schoolmarmish, I suppose.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 398 comments I think my review of The Foundling was a story "in which the ingenue is a duke."


message 11: by Nell (new)

Nell Thanks to all for your thoughtful responses. I bought my first Georgette Heyer at a UBS because there was a rave from Mary Balogh on the cover. It was The Talisman Ring and I was hooked. I've read about half of her regencies and most of her mysteries.


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 544 comments Abigail wrote: "That’s a hoot, Kate! I find that my Heyer tone comes out when I disapprove of someone—it is a little schoolmarmish, I suppose."

My mother pretty much IS an acerbic dowager from a Heyer novel. :D


message 13: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 647 comments I have a friend who loved GH’s acerbic dowagers so much that she named one of her daughters Augusta. Maybe going a bit far . . .


message 14: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 673 comments My ambition in life: to become an acerbic older woman (one hopes, not a dowager, since I'm rather attached to my husband) from a Heyer novel. ;-)


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