Georgette Heyer – Cotillion and The Convenient Marriage

8 September 2009

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Those of you that have known me for a while will probably be wondering when I am going to mention my all time favourite writer, Georgette Heyer. Well, mes amis, that time is now and as I am often asked to recommend her books to new fans, I thought I would write a series of posts about my favourites amongst her books.

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I still remember my first Heyer, which I read at the age of nine and absolutely adored. It was Cotillion and I was instantly enchanted by her fresh turn of phrase, her wit and the adorable beauty of her characters. It is still one of my favourites now and I don’t think I could ever tire of the truly wonderful story of Kitty and Freddie.

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Regency romances are commonplace these days as writers will always be drawn to the lovely empire line dresses, the interesting social history of the period and the general charm of the era. No one has ever written about it as well as Georgette Heyer though, whose books are so amazingly easy to read and accomplished and yet are the results of many years of intensive research into the Regency period.

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Heyer didn’t just write Regencies though; her interests were diverse and she also wrote about different periods in history such as the Norman Conquest, Elizabethans and English Civil War. I’m not such a great fan of her other historical books as they miss the deftness of touch of her Regencies. It’s sad really as I sometimes get the feeling that it was her other books, such as My Lord John, about the brother of Henry V that she ultimately wanted to be remembered for.

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Also worth looking at are her series of crime novels, which are along the same lines as Agatha Christie’s book only with Heyer’s trademark wit and charming social drama. They are mostly set in great country houses with a cast of eccentric, well bred suspects and very entertaining to read if a bit formulaic.

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Along with Cotillion, another one of her books that I often recommend to new readers is The Convenient Marriage, which is not strictly a Regency as it is set in London in the 1780s. Like many of Heyer’s books, this one begins with the wedding, in this case that of Horatia Winwood and the Earl of Rule and works its way through the many misunderstandings that arise between the married couple. Horatia, or ‘Horry’ is a charming and yet flawed heroine that you just can’t help but fall in love with.

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I have to say that I am always massively envious when I hear that people have just read and enjoyed their first Heyer. There is nothing like that initial feeling that you have stumbled upon TREASURE. The Lovely Lucy of Enchanted by Josephine has just reviewed her first Heyer, The Corinthian and I feel so thrilled for her.

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