G for Georgette Heyer

G for Georgette Heyer

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(1902-1974)

I stumbled
upon Georgette Heyer in my school library and loved her right from the start. This
British author was born in the 1900s in Wimbledon, London. However, she chose
to set her novels a full hundred years back, in the Regency period. 

What a
glorious time that was!  Women in
elaborate gowns and even more elaborate hairdos topped off by insanely
expensive hats; men just as fashion conscious with their cravats that could be
arranged in a hundred different ways, their breeches and stylish coats; balls,
soirees, phaeton rides and hunting parties. Oh I do love it all and Georgette Heyer
brought it to life.

The
beginning

Her journey
in writing began with story-telling sessions. When she was just 17 her brother
fell ill with a form of Haemophilia and she began a serial story to entertain him. Her father, who had
always encouraged her to read, loved the story and thought of getting it
published. The book appeared as her first novel ‘The Black Moth’ even before
she turned 20 and then there was, to use a cliche, no looking back. Georgette Heyer
was one of the most prolific writers coming up with a mystery and a romance
each year. Some of her well-know books include Devil’s Cub, Talisman Ring, The Grand Sophy, Sylvester.

A meticulous
researcher

Given that
her novels were set in a period she had never seen, she researched every single
aspect of that time. Wiki tells me her library included about a thousand reference
books. She would make note cards on almost everything no matter how insignificant. She read up histories of snuff boxes, sign posts and costumes. She
sorted her notes into categories like beauty, hats, household, prices. She made
extensive lists of phrases on topic like food and crockery, endearments, forms
of address! Whew!! Some effort there, which is why for a long time I thought
she actually belonged to the 19th century.. so authentic was she. She’s another one inspired by Jane Austen.

Not one for
the media

Her third book
These Old Shades (my personal favourite) – was released during the time of the
UK general strike and got no promotion at all.. no reviews, no newspaper
coverage, nothing. Yet it sold some 190,000 copies. After that she refused to give interviews
completely.

A combination of romance and mystery with liberal doses of wit

.. that’s
what you find in her books. Her heroes were typically serious yet appreciated spirit in their lady and enjoyed a good
laugh. Her heroines were often young. They were always effervescent and
unaffected and very very romantic. More often than not Heyer threw in a dash of
mystery which made her books even more exciting.

And now I’m off to reread her. Did I tell you, you can read her books over and over again and enjoy them each time? Yes, well you can.

***********
And for tomorrow’s clue – an H, this lady, has to her credit, just a single published book that won a Pulitzer and became classroom material. Okay.. let me make it easier the book is told from the perspective of a 6-year-old girl. 
************

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014 for the theme AMAZING AUTHORS.

Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

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46 Replies to “G for Georgette Heyer”

  1. Haven't read her books, but romance, mystery and some wit – sounds very intriguing… Very niceely written piece about her, Tulika:-)

  2. Interesting…I have never read her but from your description her writing sounds very interesting. And the era she describes happends to be my favorite too…maybe because am such a sucker for history 🙂 Thanks!

  3. I have never read her books but love reading stories from this time period, especially ones that involve royalty and the nobility. Very thorough, concise, and interesting write up! ♥

  4. Tulika, you are a girl after my own heart!! I absolutely LOVE Georgette Heyer. I had no idea what a phaeton was until I read her books.
    And I can't believe that you too list These Old Shades as your number 1. Same pinch! We have to meet!! 🙂

  5. I havent read her either! I guess I'm going to say this on a lot of your posts in this series!! Glad to read these introductions 🙂 I'm sure I'll keep coming back to these..

    1. Priyanka knew it many would have read Georgette Heyer but the series is about my favourites and I did want to put her down on y list since I read her so much in my teens.

  6. My personal favourite. In fact, just finished re- re reading ' The Black Moth' online! Did not know it was her first. Think it's time I started a Georgette Heyer book festival all over again!!

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