As I’ve said many a time, I’ve been a fan of Georgette Heyer’s books most of my life. It started with These Old Shades when I was eleven, and I’ve never stopped reading and rereading her since. Her books are the reason I write Regency-era romances, because in many ways, I feel almost as if I grew up in the world she created, and it comes quite naturally to me.
The photo on the left is me showing a couple of my favorite Heyer books — the new editions because my old copies are so worn I’m worried they’ll fall apart. I’ve recently lent these to a friend, who to my surprise had never even heard of Heyer. (I was shocked!) She’s loving them, of course, and I’m envying her the discovery.
There’s a wonderful article here that explores some reasons why Heyer has never quite received the praise or fame that she deserves. It also asks “Why has Hollywood never discovered Heyer?” with which I heartily concur. (Thanks to Binnie Braunstein for passing it on.)
If you’re already fan of Heyer’s books, you should try reading Jennifer Kloester’s regular posts on Heyer’s books. Jen (who is a friend of mine) wrote the official biography of Georgette Heyer and is a walking, talking authority on everything Heyer. In these posts she deals with a different book each time — it’s not the usual review/interpretation of the book, you get the background of what Heyer was doing/thinking when she was writing it, using information, letters etc, and nots of snippets that Jen didn’t have room for in the biography. It’s fascinating stuff.
That’s Jen’s biography of Heyer on the right. Isn’t it a gorgeous photo of Heyer? There are lots more photos in the book, including one of the grass-roofed hut that Heyer lived in in Africa at one stage. And quite a few with various beloved dogs. Here’s one:
I rather thought Heyer would be a ‘household’ name to any romance reader and I too have found those who have never heard of her. Shocking! I didn’t read all of Heyer though I did read most of her. I preferred Holt for some reason. I think it was the hint of paranormal/mystique that graced most of her pages. But between the two, they’re probably the ones who really formed my ideas of romance and I’m always so surprised when I mention either and other romance readers go “who?”
Yes, clearly the author of that article was not a romance reader — and probably the kind of reader who turns their nose up in a superior way at the idea of romance. More fool they, I say. I also read and enjoyed Victoria Holt, but she came later in my reading history.
I loved Georgette Heyer’s books and have quite a few of them in both hardback and Kindle ebooks. These Old Shades started a lifelong love of older heroes. I just looked at a list and there are very, very few of her Regency romances that I haven’t read and re-read.
Pam, I’m the same — and These Old Shades was my first! Most of my copies are old ex-library hardback, which I collected as a schoolgirl with my pocket-money. And most of them I’ve reread several times. Some I haven’t reread because they weren’t faves, and had remembered not particularly loving them. But recently I reread The Talisman Ring, which I hadn’t read for years, and was wowed by the humor and delicious dialogue, and I wondered why it hadn’t become a regular reread. So I think I’ll read some of the others I’ve neglected.