During her prolific fifty-three year writing career, British author Georgette Heyer (1902-1974) wrote fifty-six historical fiction, Regency romance and detective fiction novels. She was a pioneer in Regency romance, and is generally attributed by many for establishing the sub-genre that is flourishing today. Stylish, witty and historically accurate, her humorous plots and memorable characters continue to be the benchmark for new Regency romance writers today.
In her lifetime Heyer publisher twenty-six Regency-era novels, many of which are again available in new editions by Sourcebooks and Harlequin Books. Renowned for her historical detail, to read a Heyer Regency romance is to be truly entrenched in the bon ton lifestyle in England from 1811 to 1820. Even though readers can enjoy her novels without understanding the entire historical context or nuanced meanings behind social customs and colloquialisms of the time, it is even more entertaining if you do. Georgette Heyer’s Regency World: The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period, by Jennifer Kloester offers an incredible resource for historical fiction enthusiasts and Regency-era novelists.
Readers will find detailed cultural information on the society and customs of the early nineteenth-century aristocrats and gentry that populate Heyer’s drawing room comedies. Learn the importance of social strata and the right connections, where to live in Town and the country, how to dress, eat and conduct yourself properly in polite society, where to shop for a fashionable frock, what type of carriage to tool down St. James Street in, which pleasure haunts to frequent in London, and, most importantly, who to be seen with and who to avoid socially. Also included are appendixes on de rigueur Regency era cant and common phrases that Heyer’s characters frequently use, a very helpful historical time-line and other pertinent information on the English Regency period and its colorful characters.
What elevates this book beyond a collection of historical facts is its organization and that the author places many of Heyer’s novels and characters in context to the categories and descriptions within the text. For example, Hero the young and naïve bride in Friday’s Child soon learns the importance of proper language when she asks her husband Lord Sheringham about his ‘opera dancer’ and is quickly’ put right’ on the ways of the world by a brotherly friend. Unbeknownst to Hero who had received a negligent upbringing, young ladies vocabulary was strictly regulated and a slip such as asking her husband about his mistress could ruin her reputation if the conversation had been overheard outside the family. If you do not know what an ‘opera dancer’ is, or their reputation for becoming the mistresses of the bon ton, then you missed an important aspect of Hero’s personality and Lord Sheringham’s position in society. The book is full of similarly helpful insights and I found myself learning more about Regency culture and developing a greater appreciation for Georgette Heyer’s skill as an historian and writer as the book progressed. What a treasure!
Originally published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by William Heinemann, this new edition is being re-issued on August 1st, 2010 by Sourcebooks and available in North America for the first time. Gentle Readers, since Sourcebooks is publishing it, we know it is ‘bang up to the mark’ and the definitive guide to all things in Heyer’s world.
4 out 5 Regency Stars
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester
Trade paperback (400) pages
‘Celebrating Georgette Heyer’: Day 01 Giveaway
Enter a chance to win one of five copies available of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about reading a Heyer novel or who your favorite hero or heroine is by midnight Pacific time, Monday, September 6th, 2010. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010. Shipment to continental US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Day 02 Aug 02 – Review: The Black Moth
Day 02 Aug 02 – Review: Powder and Patch
Day 03 Aug 04 – Review: These Old Shades
Day 03 Aug 04 – Review: The Masqueraders