Monday, October 17, 2011

The Grand Georgette Heyer

Who else would I choose but Georgette Heyer as my first author in this blog about books that make you feel good? Georgette Heyer was a twentieth century English author who wrote mysteries and historical romances. Most of us love her best for her Regency romances. She wrote about the fascinating period in English history at the beginning of the nineteenth century so well described by Jane Austen. If you loved Jane, you will find Heyer's romances charming and entertaining. Although not the works of art that Austen's books are, Heyer's books use witty dialogue, a romantic setting and a deep understanding of human nature to produce an enjoyable read.

I read her books for the first time as a junior high school girl. They were recommended by my librarian. Then I forgot about them until graduate school told me she loved them for late night reading when she couldn't sleep. So I started looking for copies, all of them out of print. For the longest time, I guarded my copies found in used book stores. Most were held together with rubber bands. Then the Internet appeared and I could replace the most fragile ones on eBay. Now many of them are being reprinted for a new audience.

I couldn't possibly pick my favorite Georgette Heyer novel. But The Grand Sophy would be in the top ten. Amazon sells it here as either a print or Kindle book. . And find it at Barnes and Noble here in print or Nook versions. And, of course, you can find used copies floating around on the Internet as well.

In this novel, a troubled family receives a visit from their unfashionably tall and impossibly liberated cousin, Sophy Stanton-Lacy. She quickly decides to remedy the family's ills while finding romance for herself. She pulls out all the stops to get her cousins well-married by defying convention, meddling, matchmaking and generally creating havoc. And, of course, since it is a romance, all of her plans work out exactly as she wished. I love Sophy's style, her determination and her outrageous sense of humor.

I read and reread my Georgette Heyer books. They're witty. That's so hard to find in literature today. And they're fun. And they are squeaky clean in terms of language and sex. Read the ones in print and then seek out the ones out of print. Abebooks, one of the largest online used bookstores, lists her here in their top ten authors ahead of J. K. Rowling and Charles Dickens. You won't be disappointed.

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