Posts Tagged With: Georgette Heyer

Fall-ish Reading List 2014


In the holiday shuffle, I missed posting my fall reading list.  So this one contains everything I’ve read up until January 1.  It’s shorter because I’ve been doing less reading of other people’s novels and more reading of my own.  Draft 6 is in full swing.

So, without further ado, here it is:

1.      A Wonderlandiful World, by Shannon Hale – Fun like the others, but I missed Apple and Raven.  Hale does some brilliant stuff that is Against the Rules and Shouldn’t Work with the character of the narrator. And yet it does, perfectly.

2.      Demons, and other magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge – She did not deliver on a (stupid) thing she’s been threatening for three books now, so that made me unhappy.  Otherwise it was what it should have been.  Nice epic finish that felt big enough.

3.      Manon Lescaut by Abbe Provost – I can’t say I liked it, although it got me thinking quite a bit.  It’s one of those novels where I disdain the characters and think they’re all idiots.  But it broadened my horizons.  So I’m not sorry I read it.

4.      The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern – If it was possible that anything could be funnier than the movie, this book is funnier than the movie.  The Florin jokes, abridgements, and history are the best thing ever, like I’m part of a massive inside joke.

5.      Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Man hired to read company e-mails secretly falls in love with girl who keeps violating the e-mail policy.  The two gals are beyond hilarious, the main character is such a great guy, and I love this book so much.

6.      The Lake by Analisa Grant – I just… 1st person present tense was difficult for me, and the story was cliché.  But it had profluence and an interesting main character.  I gave up 1/3 of the way through.  Maybe I’ll pick it up again, I don’t know.

7.      A Garden Folly by Candice Hern – The stupid sort of G rated Regency romance I love a lot.  Although it does make me uncomfortable when a girl says no and a guy doesn’t listen, no matter how much she’s really enjoying it.

8.      Paper Towns by John Green – Looking For Alaska was a better “finding someone” novel, and An Abundance of Katherines was a better “road trip” novel.  But it enjoyed it, and would have enjoyed it more had I not read the others first, I think.

9.      The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer – Now this is what I look for in a sappy regency romance.  Sophy is delightfully uncouth, quippy, and still the toast of the town.  It’s such a fun novel!  I’m pretty sure Heyer is my new obsession.

10.  The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer – A confusing start but ultimately fun.  Minus (miniscule) points because the siblings don’t have a great reason for masquerading.  Most of the novel had me in conniptions worried for Prue in White’s club.

11.  A Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer – I feel  like I shouldn’t have liked this one because of the abduction but I did anyway.  I could have done without the swath at the end where silly brothers are silly.  Otherwise impeccable.

12.  The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer – Considered her best by folks on Goodreads. It was cute, but I wasn’t super impressed.  The way she treats gender relationships sometimes bothers me, but not enough to hate the book.  It was a different time.

13.  More Than Somewhat by Damon Runyon – Why is he so wonderful?  I forgot how hilarious he makes the Broadway underworld of the 1930s and 40s.  I wish more of his stuff was available.

14.  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – Oh CRAZY good, and perfect for the Halloween mood I was in.  Vampire novel meets quippy YA novel in the best way.  It was violent, but I found I could take it.  Seriously, this one is amazing.

15.  The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer – This one was sort of murder mystery-ish, although I knew who did it way too far in advance.  Once again, some unwanted advances are blamed on the flirtatious girl (sigh).  But I enjoyed it anyway.

16.  Dangerous by Shannon Hale – I love this novel, and the problems I saw in it the first time didn’t bother me at all the second time through.  The best part is still the funny names Maisy gives her false arm, and the bad puns.  They never get old.

17.  A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich – You don’t often get nonfiction books that focus on the daily lives of women.  And women in the late 1700’s? Sold! It was a fascinating read and taught me A LOT about colonial domestic life. Love.

18.  The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer – It’s weird.  This book feels utterly familiar and yet new at the same time.  I am in love with her, and this book is all the toppings on the sundae of how she’s changed my perspective and my life. So good.

19.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – Beautifully written. It made me angsty and paranoid, though. The things she has to say about relationships are so heartbreakingly true that it feels like I could get there.  And the end?  No.  Just, no.  Ultimately did not like.

20.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I have never read any Dickens as an adult, and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I did when I was younger.  His character descriptions are delightful, and the story is so much more full.  Poor Pip and his fortune.

21.  Balls and Synthetic Cheese by Amethyst Hethcoat – A classmate of mine.  Such a weird and sometimes funny collection of short stories.  I had forgotten her penchant for unlikely metaphors and similes that make me grin. I was glad for the reminder.

22.  Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley – SO good, with that mundane quality in which nothing and everything happens which McKinley does so well. It’s a different book than Beauty, the ending far more satisfying.  Happily ever after is happy too.

23.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell – CRAZY good.  It made me think of Brian and the way things used to be 15 years ago when we were first dating.  It was sweet, and at this point I’m ready to read everything Rowell has ever written ever.

24.  Sunshine by Robin McKinley – It killed me that I didn’t have 12 hours to just sit down and read this thing all the way through.  Dirtier than most McKinely novels, but I didn’t mind.  This book makes vampire tropes look Hot (capital H).

25.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I love the way Rowell makes me think of my own college days.  It makes me want to love Brian in detail like that again.  Cath is so wonderful in such a messy way.  There isn’t anything I don’t love about this book.

26.  Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones – A re-read.  I forgot how terrible Gwendolyn is, and how funny Chrestomanci’s dressing gowns are.  And Millie! And the adorable but bitey dragon! Some of the best of Diana Wynne Jones.

27.  The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones – A re-read.  Because after Cat, you HAVE to have Christopher and his Almost Anywheres.  I might love this book more than the first one, although I nearly always read them in this order.

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Book Reviews: A Georgette Heyer Obsession

I recently found Georgette Heyer. Really it was the Huntington’s fault. I found a book about the “real” history of Regency England ala Georgette Heyer in their museum shop (also known for really good tea and fun, quirky prints). I loved it. And then I read a self-pub that I liked that claimed to be for fans of Georgette Heyer. So there you are. I tried her out.  I’ve read five.

Kobo called me obsessed. They gave me a badge for it and everything. It’s official.

Here’s the thing, though. These novels are something I’m sure I shouldn’t like. We can chalk it up to the different time, and different mores (written in the ‘60s, about the early 1800s). We can chalk it up to whatever you’d like. But the reality is that the way women are treated in the books often makes me uncomfortable. I do not care how much a woman secretly likes it. If she says no, a good man should respect that. Protagonist men should not side with other men who molest girls (claiming they were flirty and deserved it), and work to save their livelihoods. This goes for all time periods. There is nothing to defend here. It’s not okay, especially from a female author.

But I do like the books, even though I shouldn’t. The characters are rich and the storylines interesting. There is the usual delight of tea, gloves, carriages, dresses, manor houses in the countryside, and balls (some of them masked). There is so much to love that it seems stupid to throw the whole thing out on the basis of a few uncomfortable moments. They’re hardly the crux of the novels. It was a different time, right? Before the Feminine Mystique in a time dominated by men?

I’m torn.

So for now, I’m reading them. I’m letting myself be angry and recognize that the books are spreading the wrong message about love and relationships. I’m also letting myself enjoy the antics, the luxury, and the characters. It’s too bad there aren’t any easy answers here. I want to like Georgette Heyer’s books with all my heart. I’m just not sure that wanting to like them is actually liking.  For now, it’s enough.

Heyer - Full

Okay, now for the actual reviews:

The Grand Sophy: This is the best book of GH’s that I’ve read so far. Sophy is delightful, uncouth, and smart – especially when fighting with her cousin Charles. The book also doesn’t have any of those moments that I felt apprehensive about. In fact, Sophy is so well able to take care of herself that it is fun to watch her scandalize the Ton while still maintaining the love of society in general. The way she overturns everything in her Aunt’s house for the better is amusing to watch, as well. In fact, I loved this book so much that I’ve been looking for the same thing in Heyer’s other novels and almost finding it (but not quite). I’m still hoping I’ll find it again, though. She’s got scores of others.

The Masqueraders: I felt like Prudence and Robin (who were masquerading) didn’t have that great a reason to do so. You know, besides the fact that their father told them to and they follow commands. It’s not even really explained in the end by their father, not to my satisfaction. But I really loved watching Prudence navigate the man’s world of Regency England, from getting into duels to visiting White’s club. Bonus points for masked ball, too. It’s a complicated story, well woven, and mostly a delight. If you don’t count Sir Anthony’s assertion that Prudence will marry him if he has to carry her off to make it happen.

A Convenient Marriage: Another refreshing heroine who is not a beauty and a little stupid, but still the toast of the town. Because Horry and Rule’s marriage is for convenience only, Heyer exploits their lack of trust in each other for a complicated plot that is well done. This one features a full-on abduction, though, and near rape. It’s bad. Also, the last chunk of the novel is full of the Main Character’s silly brothers who are silly. Droll and amusing has its limits. That being said, I enjoyed it enough to read two other Heyer novels. Her character are SO GOOD.

The Corinthian: The folks on Goodreads consider this her best book yet, but I can’t quite agree. The plot does evolve into this nice farce of silliness that I love a lot, and it was fun to see the “lower” echelons of Regency society, and how the main character dandy navigated them. I especially loved the funny and antagonistic relationship between Richard and Pen, Richard’s deep concern with cravats, and Pen’s obsession with apples. A gal after my own heart. Richard is a little rough with Pen at times, but over all this one is more comfortable than some of Heyer’s others.

The Quiet Gentleman: Unwanted advances are blamed on a flirtatious girl. I think someone even says “well, she should learn…” So, yeah. But I liked Frant and his motley collection of relatives, and I liked that it was sort of a mystery novel with shootings and secret passages. I loved Drusilla so much. She is smart, full of excellent advice, much sense, and saves the day more than once. For Drusilla and the mystery, this book is worth the read. Just overlook the fact that Martin’s story eventually makes him out to be a non-villain, okay?

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