Venetia (The Folio Society Edition), by Georgette Heyer — A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

I will state unequivocally that Venetia is my favorite novel by author Georgette Heyer (1902-1974). That is quite an accolade considering the depth of her oeuvre including 26 Regency, 8 Georgian, 6 historical fiction, 4 contemporary, and 12 detective fiction novels. That’s 56 in total, and in my book, Venetia tops them all.

Ergo, it was no surprise to me that The Folio Society selected Venetia as their first Georgette Heyer book to trot out and showcase with their exquisite selection of beautifully bound and illustrated collector’s Continue reading “Venetia (The Folio Society Edition), by Georgette Heyer — A Review”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer – A Review

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer (2011)Guest review by Laura Wallace: 

I know!  She was the delightful creature who cut up her brother, and cast the pieces in her papa’s way, wasn’t she?  I daresay perfectly amiable when one came to know her.”

—Venetia on Medea.

Venetia is about soul mates. Two people who, despite completely dissimilar life experiences, recognize in each other a mind that works the same way, a shared appreciation of the absurd, fundamental decency toward others, and to some extent, a disregard for convention.  The eponymous heroine is not quite so willing to flout convention as her new friend Lord Damerel, who has a reputation as a rake, but as she comes to know him, she becomes more willing.

Our heroine is a victim (though not a bitter one) of the selfish behavior of others.  Owing to her father’s obstinate reclusiveness after the loss of her mother when Venetia was young, she has hardly Continue reading “Venetia, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer – A Review

One of Georgette Heyer’s most beloved novels, Venetia is set in the countryside of the North Riding of Yorkshire three years after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Its eponymous heroine Venetia Lanyon is not your conventional Heyer Regency Miss. Unmarried at age twenty-five she has never been in love, is close to being on the shelf, and has resigned herself to the narrow fate of spinsterhood.

Raised by her reclusive father since her mother’s death fifteen years prior, Venetia has seen little of life beyond the family estate of Undershaw Manor or an occasional country dance at Harrogate. Since her father’s death shortly after the Battle of Waterloo she has been overseeing the household of her younger brothers: twenty-two-year-old Sir Conway, a soldier overseas with the Army of Occupation in Cambray, France, and sixteen-year-old Aubrey, a brilliant scholar studying for Cambridge who abhors his physical limitations from a pronounced and ugly limp. Also within her small sphere are two improbable suitors who would like to win her hand: Edward Yardley, a dull, pompous, egoist who thinks NO is a YES, and Oswald Denny, a bumbling teenage wanna-be rake who idolizes Lord Byron the mad, bad and dangerous to know poet. Life as a maiden aunt in her brother’s household seems a far preferable fate until a chance encounter with an estranged neighbor, the “Wicked Baron” of Elliston Priory, leaves a surprisingly favorable impression.

Others tell her the Baron, Lord Jasper Damerel is scoundrel, a rake, and a libertine. Not at all a suitable association for any young lady who does not want her reputation ruined. Their first encounter, while she walks alone near his estate, is one of Heyer’s most famous scenes. (I will not reveal spoilers – but it is very praiseworthy.) Damerel is as brazen and unprincipled as his reputation precedes him, but, instead of swooning or running from his advances Venetia firmly holds her ground and pelts him with literary retorts, challenging his intelligence and temporarily belaying his dishonorable intentions. Their verbal sparring snaps and sparkles like dry kindling to a hungry fire confirming Heyer’s brilliance with characterization and dialogue. Venetia does not hesitate to say what she thinks and that makes him laugh, a refreshing change for this world-weary social outcast. Tall, dark and disreputable, everything about rakish Damerel tells her to check herself, but Venetia does the exact opposite, she befriends him. Continue reading “Venetia, by Georgette Heyer – A Review”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer, read by Richard Armitage (Naxos AudioBooks): A Review & Giveaway

Did you know that Georgette Heyer is British author and literary critic Margaret Drabble’s favorite historical novelist? I know! High praise from an author who has written eighteen novels, introductions to all of Jane Austen’s major and minor works, been awarded a Doctorate in Letters from Cambridge University and the CBE and DBE by the Queen of England. Drabble is a living national treasure, as Heyer should have been if her novels had been taken more seriously during her life-time. However, she has always been highly esteemed by her faithful readers for close to ninety years and out of her thirty-eight Regency romance novels, Venetia is one of the most beloved.

Set in the countryside of the North Riding of Yorkshire three years after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Venetia Lanyon is not your conventional Heyer heroine. Unmarried at age twenty-five she has never been in love, is close to being on the shelf and has resigned herself to the narrow fate of spinsterhood. Raised by her reclusive father since her mother’s death fifteen years prior, Venetia has seen little of life beyond the family estate of Undershaw Manor or an occasional country dance at Harrogate. Since her father’s death shortly after the Battle of Waterloo, she has been overseeing the household of her younger brothers: twenty-two-year-old Sir Conway, a soldier overseas with the Army of Occupation in Cambray, France and sixteen-year-old Aubrey, a brilliant scholar studying for Cambridge who abhors his physical limitations from a pronounced and ugly limp. Also within her small sphere are two improbable suitors who would like to win her hand: Edward Yardley, a dull, pompous egoist who thinks NO is a YES, and Oswald Denny, a bumbling teenage wanna-be rake who idolizes Lord Byron. Life as a maiden aunt in her brother’s household seems a far preferable fate until a chance encounter with an estranged neighbor, the “Wicked Baron” of Elliston Priory, leaves a surprisingly favorable impression. Continue reading “Venetia, by Georgette Heyer, read by Richard Armitage (Naxos AudioBooks): A Review & Giveaway”

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