Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Georgette Heyer Month At Austenprose

Thomas Lawrence, Miss Laura Dorothea Ross, c.1800

It's been a few years since I first cut my historical novel teeth on Georgette Heyer's wonderful stories. I almost shy away from calling her eighteenth century and Regency tales romances, as I'm conscious that such a label would put people off and bring about a host of sniffy remarks about trashy romance novels. The fact of the matter is however, that Heyer's historical fiction is romance, but romance that is perfectly observed, witty and intelligent. Not only that, Heyer's attention to historical detail (and accuracy) is nothing short of remarkable. Fashion, medicine, architecture, technology, entertainment and more fall within Heyer's sphere of research. She seamlessly weaves her information, as well as the events and politics of the day into her plots so successfully that they never feel laboured or boring. The information she provides is never merely an "information dump." Georgette Heyer's world is always entertaining and lively, her heroes and heroines are real and the ensuing love stories are always a joy to read.

Austenprose are celebrating Heyer's birthday for the whole of this month, and I was really pleased to discover that there will be daily reviews of Heyer's historical works, as well as other articles posted by avid Heyer fans and academics. Still something of an enigma, even after her death (once commenting, "My private life concerns no one but myself and my family"), it's always fascinating to read more about the lady herself, and to reacquaint myself with her stories, sparkling heroines and dashing heroes.

My own two personal favourites are the first two of her books I ever read: Black Sheep and The Convenient Marriage. If intelligently written historical fiction, laced with humour, packed with detail and a healthy dose of romance is something that interests you, go to Austenprose, read a review and take your pick! As for me; I'm off to read Black Sheep again... 

Image courtesy of The Tate Collection Online.

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