Tag Archives: Regency England

Georgette Heyer Gems of August Event Winners

 Well ladies and gentlemen we have come to the end of “Georgette Heyer Gems of August”. It has been such a pleasure sharing the works of Georgette Heyer with you all. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this event and those who followed along. We have had some great discussions concerning Heyer and her work and I want to especially thank all those who commented this month and kept the chatter going. This was my first event of this kind here at Stiletto Storytime and I am so pleased that many of you have personally reached out to say how very much you enjoyed it. Again I cannot say enough about all those who contributed with guest reviews and guest posts- you were all so superb.

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…the two winners of the Sourcebooks Georgette Heyer Prize Packs! Each winner will receive a prize pack of four Georgette Heyer books courtesy of Sourcebooks. So without further ado those winners chosen from the comments on all Heyer posts this month by random number generator are…

Colleen Turner  who is the winner of the “Georgette’s Goodies Prize Pack” which includes: Black Sheep, Regency Buck, The Black Moth & Bath Tangle.

Marlene Breakfield who is the winner of the “Heyer’s Heist Prize Pack” which includes: The Convenient Marriage, Cousin Kate, False Colours & Lady of Quality.

Congratulations to both ladies and Happy Heyer Reading!


Filed under Contests, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Review: Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (1966)

I was really excited to have the opportunity to participate in this Georgette Heyer event on Stiletto Storytime.  I had actually never read any Georgette Heyer before, and this gave me a great reason to do so.  I have to admit that I don’t really consider myself a romance reader, so at first I had avoided Heyer’s books.  But then I found out that they were actually romances in the same vein as Austen, not historical bodice rippers at all.  And I had multiple people whose reading tastes I share and trust, including Miss Stiletto Storytime herself, mention that they really loved her books, so I knew I really needed to give her a try.  I’m so glad I did.I loved my first Heyer experience!
To quickly summarize my selection, Black Sheep: Abigail Wendover is a 28-year-old “spinster” living in Bath who, along with her sister Selina is responsible for the care of their orphaned 17-year-old niece Fanny.  Abby returns from a visit with relatives in London and discovers that Fanny has developed a relationship with the handsome Stacy Calverleigh, a man Abby senses is only after Fanny’s fortune.  When Stacy’s uncle Miles, considered the black sheep of the family, arrives in Bath as well, Abby seeks his assistance in putting an end to the relationship and falls for Miles herself, despite her better sense telling her she should stay away from him.
Even though Black Sheep was filled with character types we’ve all seen before – the heroine who’s considered past her prime; the suitor with a dark past; the silly young girl carried away by her first crush; the dashing young man who may not have the best of intentions – Heyer managed to develop each of these types into fleshed out characters the reader cares about.  I thought that the plot was turning out to be somewhat predictable as well, but Heyer managed to surprise me with a nice twist or two in the end.  The best thing about Heyer’s writing by far is her way with words and her great sense of humor.  I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading this book.  The only negative thing I can say about the book is that I felt like it ended too abruptly.  I wanted the ending to be a little more developed, to find out a little more about the future of the characters I’d come to love.  I’m looking forward to reading more Heyer, and not just her historical romances, but her mysteries as well, as I’ve heard they’re wonderful, too.Thanks for including me in this event!
~The Lovely Librarian at Learning to Play the Bassoon
*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Review: Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer (1955)

    Lady Serena is in quite the predicament. Upon the unexpected death of her father the Earl of Spenborough she has learned that her inheritance down to every bit of her pin money is be governed by a trustee. Said trustee must also approve of any marriage Serena were to make or else she might lose any fortune left to her altogether other than a small sum from her deceased mother.

At the age of 25 it is not surprising the beautiful and strong-willed  Serena should have someone chosen to provide for her and watch over her but the choice of the individual is rather rare. You see her father the Earl chose none other than a man that Serena was once engaged to, a man she walked away from shortly before their wedding was to take place: the Marquis of Rotherham. A duo to behold, the Marquis and Serena often butt heads and their tempers are only matched by their ability to infuriate one another on a regular basis.

From the very first few pages of Bath Tangle readers are provided with a feisty heroine and a hero to match but soon things begin to get shall we say…tangled. After having to abandon their home Serena and her step-mother, a quiet young woman by the name of Fanny quietly remove to a small property on the estate of Milverley. However this proves to be unsuitable so they remove to Bath for a short amount of time hoping for a diversion from their grief and the every day reminder of their once happy life at Milverley. An beautiful vast estate which now belongs to another by the demands of the inheritance since Lord Spenborough left no heir.

Upon arriving in Bath, Lady Serena soon meets an acquaintance she never thought to find again. A man she once loved dearly but was prevented from being with due to his status and their youth. Major Hector Kirkby loves Serena now as ardently as he did seven years ago when they were kept apart. At this time his situation has changed somewhat as he has inherited an estate and done rather well in the military, he soon asks for Serena’s hand and receives her ardent assent. Only one obstacle seems to remain-the approval of Rotherham. Will Rotherham ever agree for Serena to marry this man she once loved? And is the rather reserved Hector Kirkby really the man for a woman like the “fast” Lady Serena?

Georgette Heyer once again leads us on an ride of humor, gossip and love in her much loved Bath Tangle. Full of colorful characters and the always entertaining sub-plots she is famous for, readers will find themselves swept up into Heyer’s Regency world and the exploits of her wild heroine Lady Serena and the devilish Rotherham with the fashionable backdrop of the picturesque Bath.

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Post: Georgette Heyer’s Historical Romances…Like Olives

In my third year of University I complained to Cathy that I had nothing to read. Actually I’d shouted “I’m bored” from my dorm room loud enough for Cathy to hear (she lived two rooms away). I was lying on the floor with my feet on my bed staring at my bookshelf crammed with Political Science and History texts, and a collection of tattered recreational reading material by Austen, Caldwell, Plaidy and Seton wanting something new to read that wasn’t vaguely related to study. I was about to reread Persuasion (for the gazillionth time) when Cathy appeared in the doorway with a book and a smug smile. “Read this. You’ll love her.” Cathy loved Jane Austen as much as me, so there was no argument. That she said I would love her the author rather than the book also heightened my interest. The book was The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer.
Frankly, I didn’t take to The Toll-Gate. Mind you, this was after reading only two chapters. I complained to Cathy that the prose was plodding, the paragraphs too long and involved. Every speech seemed to end with an exclamation mark. I really didn’t care for the characters. Did she have anything else for me to read?
Cathy in her wisdom told me to keep reading and stop complaining. Heyer was like an olive – an acquired taste. Something children just didn’t get because their taste buds were not sophisticated, but grown ups got it because they were prepared to put in a deliberate effort to get to know the complexity of an olive. By getting to know an olive, only then could one appreciate the subtleties of taste, texture and uniqueness.
I loved olives, so I read on. By the end of the book I grudgingly admitted that Heyer was not too bad. Just like trying my first real olive. The taste was definitely different and rather adult but I still didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Cathy said it was just the same with olives. Many people just don’t get what all the fuss is about with Manzanillo or Kalamata olives.
I returned the book but kept my opinion of The Toll-Gate to myself, determined to be an adult, and not be childish and spit out the olive and never try one again. I humbly asked if I could borrow another Heyer. Cathy looked to have every Pan Heyer (the rather dreadful early 1970s covers) ever printed and from the shelf I chose Faro’s Daughter, and the rest is history. I LOVED Faro’s Daughter. Next, The Grand Sophy, These Old Shades, Devil’s Cub, The Black Moth, The Masqueraders, Bath Tangle… etc. etc. Cathy got tired of my comings and goings. She was my lending library. But I was hooked!
I’m sure there are many who still wonder what all the fuss is about with Heyer, but experience Heyer for yourself, put in the time and effort to acquire a taste for her books, and then you too will truly appreciate the wonderful world she has created. Bet you can’t read just one!
Lucinda Brant writes Georgian historical romances and crimances (crime with lashings of romance). NOBLE SATYR (Book One of the Roxton series) won the Random House/Woman’s Day Romantic Fiction Prize and pays homage to Heyer’s These Old Shades. Book 3 of the Roxton series – AUTUMN DUCHESS – is due out mid August.*


Filed under Adult Books, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Post: Differences of Georgette Heyer & Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the greatest literary celebrity death matches has been between Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Heyer and Austen are compared to each other, rather fairly or unfairly; but what sets them apart and makes them unique?

Jane Austen published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in 1811. This was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously.

In contrast, Georgette Heyer published her first book, The Black Moth, in 1921 and her last book My Lord John in 1975. Heyer wrote a total of 50 novels, twelve of which are detective novels written towards the end of her career.

The main thing that sets them apart is that Austen wrote about the times in which she lived. She was familiar with her subjects because she was able to observe those around her daily. She was familiar with the customs and courtesies of society. This allowed her to exhibit her veiled wit which is imbedded in her carefully crafted pose.

“A heroine in a hack post-chaise is such a blow upon sentiment as no attempt at grandeur or pathos can withstand. Swiftly, therefore, shall her post-boy drive through the village, amid the gaze of Sunday groups, and speedy shall be her descent from it.”

(Northanger Abbey, Chapter 29)

Heyer, known primarily for her Regency novels, spent meticulous hours researching to ensure her novels accuracy. As she didn’t live in the times in which she wrote she sought to ensure that her novels painted a historical picture. She also took great pains with language, writing her works in a formal tone with period correct dialogue, although she was known to make up some things of her own as well.

“He was dressed in the height of the Versailles fashion, with full-skirted coat of palest lilac laced with silver, small-clothes andstockings of white, and waistcoat of flowered satin. On his feet he wore shoes with high red heels and silver buckles, while a wig of the latest mode, marvelously powdered and curled and smacking greatly of Paris, adorned a shapely head.”

(The Black Moth, Chapter 1)

I would argue, however, that Heyer wrote purely for entertainment which makes reading her slightly easier then Austen. Her plots are romantically driven with a singular focus of bringing together the hero and heroine. While there are conflicts and villains they sometimes feel like afterthoughts. Yet, even when they feel like afterthoughts they are still memorable.

‘Lord Lethbridge shut the door and stood for a moment in frowning silence. He was aroused from his abstraction by the approach of his valet, who came up the stairs from the basement to attend to him and remarked with concern that the rain had wetted his lordship’s coat.”

(The Convenient Marriage, Chapter 7)

Heyer’s characters also lack the depth which Austen typically exhibits. Although, I would argue Fanny Price of Mansfield Park is one of Austen’s least developed heroines, but I digress. She lacks the ability of Austen to take a satirical look at society and human nature itself. Austen was intricate and sly in her ability to reveal the flaws of human nature.

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and live nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

(Emma, Chapter 1)

While Heyer and Austen are often compared to one another, I think it is considerate of us to remember that both these woman wrote in different times and in their own right they created their own poignant mark on the literary world. Austen delights us because of her ability to remark on society and human nature. Heyer delights us because she entertains us. She gave us some of the most memorable characters and plots.

One cannot go wrong with either, for they are both perfect and unique in their own way.

Guest Post by Kaydee at For the Love of Austen


Filed under Adult Books, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction, Jane Austen

Review: Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (1953)

      It’s an issue of money and marriage…alas the stuff regency love is made of. However there is a twist. The orphaned Miss Kitty Charing stands to become a very rich girl, an heiress if she wishes to be so but only if she obeys the odd request of her miser guardian Uncle Matthew. The catch is that she must marry one of her guardian’s nephews of which there are quite a few. Not a problem when Kitty has  always cared deeply for one of the nephews: Jack.  However when the suitors are summoned and told of the situation…Jack never arrives or offers his hand. Therefore if Kitty is to escape her life at Arnside and be provided for, she must marry another. If she does not, she will be left penniless when her guardian dies with no where to go.

Freddy Standen is an amiable if somewhat absent-minded man. Among all the other possible suitors the dandy Freddy is the one considered least likely to propose to marry Kitty. While many of the suitors need the money Kitty will inherit, Freddy is well provided for and much more concerned with his wardrobe than the attentions of a young lady. This is why Kitty immediately decides Freddy will be the perfect man to help her escape to London and find a way out of her situation through a pretend engagement.

The pretend engagement soon finds both Kitty and Freddy navigating the waters of a sparkling London and all it’s diversions. Throw in a few mixed up love connections with the re-apperance of the man Kitty loves and a drop of scandal and you have a novel that will keep you deep within it’s pages long into the night. Georgette Heyer takes a classic mixed up love scenario and makes it so much more in Cotillion. Adding layer upon layer of intrigue, humor and love story, Heyer manages to create a novel of depth and light-heartedness at the same time while providing sub-plot after sub-plot that will intrigue readers from the very first page.

Who will Kitty marry? Will true love prevail or is there a love lurking nearby of which she never suspected? A detailed cast of characters and a perfectly timed plot all reveal Kitty’s fate. A must read Heyer!

  (A Favor by Edmund Blair Leighton)

What’s in a cover?

 Ever wonder where the cover art of the Georgette Heyer novels published by Sourcebooks comes from? Novembers Autumn shows us a few examples of works of art transposed onto book covers here.

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*

Continue reading


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Review: The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer (1928)

When Courtney sent out a tweet asking if folks were interested in doing a review of a Georgette Heyer book in August for Stiletto Storytime, I jumped at the opportunity and got even more excited when I actually looked up who Georgette Heyer was.

You see, for years all I read was romance novels. Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, Linda Lael Miller … and even a few tearjerkers thrown in for good measure by Nicholas Sparks. As time passed, however, my tastes evolved and I began to look elsewhere – but I still remember clearly how much I loved romance and how it helped me through some very difficult parts of my life. So who better to pay homage to that time period of reading then a master of romance – Georgette Heyer.

First, however, I must put on my party dress, because I simply cannot talk about this book without feeling the part.

The book I chose to review is The Masqueraders. It appeared, from my whirlwind research, that this would be the perfect book for me because:

A. It involved a mannish sort of woman (I’m not one of those women who swoons at the slightest breeze); and

B. It involves a marvelous prank.

What I didn’t count on was the formality of the language. Trust me, this was language that could put even Jane Austen to shame.

Speaking of Jane Austen, as a quick aside, I found myself giggling over aspects of this book due to the subtle humor in the same way that I giggle over Pride and Prejudice. Awkward scenes get me all a dither!

Once I relaxed into the language, the flow of the story swept me along and I found myself laughing at the hijinks, gasping like any lady of quality would over duels and kidnappings, and wondering just how on earth this brother and sister duo would manage to unmask their masquerade.

Oh .. pardon me, did I fail to mention exactly what it was? Are you ready?

They switched places!

Robin became the beautiful Miss Merriot and Prudence the slight, but fascinating Mr. Peter Merriot!

This book made me want to use the phrases “romping good fun, m’lad” and “a pleasure to read, m’lady” in my review, but I shouldn’t do that because that’s silly, right?

I’m glad I chose The Masqueraders as my book for Georgette Heyer month and I want to thank Courtney for introducing me to such a wonderful cast of characters and such a fun author.

~Lydia at The Lost Entwife

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Review: Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer (1932)

What it’s about: This is the second book in the Alastair trilogy, but it’s absolutely no problem to read on its own or to read them out of sync.

 It’s the late 18th Century, and twenty-four year old Dominic Alastair, Marquis of Vidal, is a spoiled, rich young man, who spends his time gambling and seducing women of a lower class than himself.

 After he kills someone in a duel, he’s forced to leave the country, England, for France. He wants to take his current favorite with him, Sophia Challoner. Sophia knows she’s not in his league, but hopes that a compromising situation will force Dominic to marry her, so she’s all for eloping with him to France.

 Mary Challoner, Sophia’s older and much wiser sister, thinks he will not. He will use her and abandon her. So, to teach him a lesson, she takes her sister’s place and not before they are far from home does Dominic discover who she is. Now she is in a compromising situation!

 He kidnaps her to Paris and promises to marry her to protect her virtue, but Mary won’t have any of it. Although she does like him, that rogue!

My thoughts: I loved this very entertaining story about the prim and proper (but certainly not scared of anything) Mary and the devilish Marquis of Vidal who never thought about anyone but himself, until he met and kidnapped Mary.

 The book is full of horse-and-coach chases, mothers with certain ambitions for their sons and daughters (think marriage, think Pride and Prejudice), powdered wigs and perfume.

 I loved the way the characters talk to each other, in a sort-of formal and old-fashioned way. I saw the ending coming from a long way ahead but that didn’t matter at all, it was great fun to see that it all ended as I had expected (and hoped).

 5 stars (out of 5)!

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer (1934)

I have to admit this book was my first introduction the Georgette Heyer and after I finished it, I was hooked on all things Heyer.

Horatia Winwood offers to marry the Earl of Rule in place of her sister, as her sister is in love with someone else. After she marries, she takes on her family pastime of gambling, which she isn’t very good at. Horatia’s antics provide a lot of comedy, but it also allows us to see what is so charming to the hero.

The Earl of Rule is a hero you want to slap over the head sometimes and then other times you want to kiss him. Mostly he’s infuriating. His actions, or better yet his reactions, are very calm and calculated. Just when you think he doesn’t care he surprises you. He’s also completely enamored with Horatia who has no idea.

Let us not forget Sir Robert, the nemesis of our beloved, yet infuriating Earl of Rule.  Sir Robert in an effort to get back at the Earl tries to ruin Horatia’s reputation. The Earl is not having any of it. He has a plan and what a glorious one it is. Throw in an appearance of Horatia’s harebrained brother and you have a great romantic comedy.

There is magic in The Convenient Marriage, and not because this was my first Heyer novel, but because the heroine in flawed. She is not perfect. She has faults. Horatia stutters. I remember that other readers hated that the heroine stuttered, but frankly I loved it. Why can’t a stuttering heroine find love? It was a part of her character and is part of the charm of the novel.

In addition, there is one of the classic Heyer formulas in the novel, the older man with the younger woman which seems to be a favorite of hers. While the difference in age between the hero and the heroine can sometimes be apparent, I found that most of the time I didn’t even notice. I was caught up in the comedy that Heyer is so proficient at.

Heyer is at her best in this novel. The comedy, the wit and the plot are what make this book so enjoyable. In fact the very end of the novel is one of my favorites. You cannot go wrong with this book. I think I’m going to go read this again.

~Kaydee at For the Love of Austen

*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Events, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction

Guest Review: Pistols for Two by Georgette Heyer (1960)

Pistols for TwoThe first thought I had when I started reading was, “This is that it is a lot like Jane Austen”. Honestly, because I don’t read romances it is the only thing I have to compare it to. There is the same sharp wit, the humor, the preoccupation with good matches, a question of propriety versus love, the grumpy gentleman, the vivacious young ward, picaresque scenes of the English county side and, of course, romance. In the case of Pistols for Twoa series of romances.

Now I hadn’t read the synopsis so I didn’t realize that what I was really reading was a series of romance short stories. I remember thinking that this was one heavily populated novel with so much going on, and I was trying to figure how on earth Heyer was going to tie all the stories together. I had been told that she was a master storyteller, but it was getting ridiculous. Then I finally decided to look at the back of the book… I felt like a total idiot… like a deflating balloon. And admittedly, it was difficult for me to get back into the book. It was already difficult, because as I mentioned earlier, I don’t read romances. So if you don’t read romances, why did you try to read Heyer? Simply because I was curious. I think narrow mindedness is a terrible thing and you don’t know if like/dislike a book/genre/author until you have actually tried to read them. So this is good time as any to say that I only made it half way. I did enjoy two of the stories though; the title story ‘Pistols for Two’ and ‘Bath Miss’.

So let’s start with what I did enjoy, the language;

This unthinkable situation had arisen out of something far more serious. Not that one could call Marianne Treen serious: she was the gayest and most light hearted of all possible causes of dissension.

If nothing else Heyer is very good at that dry British humor which I have learned to love. That counts as a second thing, yay! The above quote proves my point. It comes from the title story, where two friends are willing tear their own friendship asunder for a woman who has made neither of them any promises. This situation brings to mind something that my friends use to say back in our more immature years…on second thought the saying is somewhat offensive, but the general idea is that we weren’t going to allow girl to come between our friendship. Another thing that I liked is a bit of spoiler, that neither of the characters that featured so prominently in the story get the girl. I think it is quite an interesting way to start a book of romantic episodes.

The other story I enjoyed is one that dealt with the issue of propriety, and features that English countryside I spoke about in the introductory paragraph. ‘Bath Miss’, which is very strange title but makes a lot more sense once you have read it, is the story of a gentleman to be married, who has been charged to escort a rather vivacious young woman home from school. So you’ve got a young lady excitable to the point of impropriety, a man locked in a loveless engagement, a troublesome dog, long journey through the country and an awkward moment that brings about what seems to me to be a very predictable ending.

Now I don’t want anyone to think that because I have been unable to finish Pistols for Two that I won’t ever try to read Georgette Heyer again. I guess this just isn’t the right time for me to try, maybe I will grow to appreciate her stories. Any one have any favorite suggestions for me to try next?

~K (The Gentleman) at Baffled Books
*Don’t forget to enter to win one of two fabulous Georgette Heyer Prize Packs from Sourcebooks. Also each “meaningful” comment on any Georgette Heyer post (including this one) in the month of August at Stiletto Storytime will also get you additional entries.*


Filed under Adult Books, Contests, Georgette Heyer, historical fiction