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What is your opinion of Georgette Heyer?

(63 Posts)
Flossieturner Sun 07-Aug-16 20:53:17

I have friends who rave over them, but I have read 4 so far, and I can't make up my mind.

michellehargreaves Mon 08-Aug-16 11:06:49

Loved the Regency Romances when I was at school. Read all of them! I suppose you could call them Jane Austen light! But she was a meticulous historical researcher and the details are correct. Except of course, young ladies of the time probably didn't have quite so many adventures! Have tried some of her detective fiction ( I am addicted to the genre ) but wasn't so impressed. She certainly wasn't in Dorothy L Sayer's class.

MaizieD Mon 08-Aug-16 11:23:23

I have loved GH since I first read them in my teens. I have nearly a full set and often re-read them (they're brilliant for whiling away a sleepless night). I think her earlier ones are better than the later ones; I think she ran out of steam a bit and the later ones seem to be written to a formula.

What I like best about her is that she is an extremely good writer; she created a convincing world (which I'm sure never really existed) peopled it with a wide variety of characters and created dialogue from the language of the period which rarely falters and sounds completely 'right'. I have read a number of pale imitations and they just can't reproduce this style with such an unerring touch.

Her research is well nigh impeccable (though I have caught her in one or two boobs). It is said that her account of the battle of Waterloo was required reading at Sandhurst at one time because of its accuracy (though modern scholarship has, I think, now cast doubt on some elements).

Of course, they're not everone's taste and some modern readers may find them very tame as there is no sex in them; some chaste kisses in the final pages are the most one can expect. But then, I don't particularly want a series of overwritten sex scenes linked by some poor attempts to set the 'story' in period.

I'd be very pleased to find a modern historical fiction author as good and as literate as some of those I read in my teens and twenties. Does anyone have any suggestions?

ChrisSheppard Mon 08-Aug-16 11:25:45

I loved them and had a copy of every one of them and re read them at different times. While decorating they were stored in the garage and we had a flash flood and I lost them all, I am reading and enjoying Rosie Goodwin books at the moment

Lupin Mon 08-Aug-16 11:32:06

I read them all in my teens, and still return to my favourites now. There is something to be said for an author who appeals so widely across the age spectrum, and to so many people.
Some are better and deeper than others. My favourites are - The Unknown Ajax, Regency Buck, a prequel to The Infamous Army. (The latter contains a peerless account of the battle of Waterloo). Spanish Bride, Venetia, A Civil Contract, Bath Tangle, Fridays Child. These are in no particular order, except that I think The Unknown Ajax is in the right place, to be followed by The Infamous Army. I also think that the Unknown Ajax would translate to the small screen very well.
Georgette Heyer has a wonderful way with dialogue and character, and was no mean historian. However I could never get on with her crime novels. Perhaps I should try again.

luluaugust Mon 08-Aug-16 11:51:17

I also read them all in my teens along with Jean Plaidy. My favourite is Cotillion bewildered Freddie always amuses me.

kathyd Mon 08-Aug-16 12:16:17

I read GH along with every other historical fiction author. I hated history at school as it was always very dull - exclusively lists of dates, politicians, kings and acts to learn.
My interest in history was ignited by reading social history novels and then through those I moved onto the political events.
My favourite of all time is Norah Lofts though I haven't read them for some time. Particularly the 'house' series. These follow the building of a house then all the subsequent inhabitants. They are mostly set in Suffolk and the wool trade plays a part in some.
Incidentally my mother, who was a teacher, bought me Forever Amber and I couldn't put it down. Likewise the Angelique books - not given me by my mother! smile

Craftycat Mon 08-Aug-16 12:23:32

Even her name still makes me shudder!
When I was expecting DS no. 2 I had to take to my bed with an 'incompetent cervix'for several weeks. My step mother moved in to look after our toddler during the day & brought with her a huge bag of GH books- which she loved. I was a captive audience & had soon nothing else to read & I have always been a voracious reader!After the first one I was pleading with any friend who came to visit to PLEASE bring me some books to read. I hated them- so slushy.
Luckily I had good friends who provided plenty of books for me or I would have gone spare!
Each to his/her own I say. Not for me but if you like them- great.

Christinefrance Mon 08-Aug-16 13:11:15

I read them a long time ago and enjoyed them. Maybe time to read again, I thought her writing was good and brought the period to life.

mintsmum Mon 08-Aug-16 13:53:19

I too enjoyed GH (and Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton etc) as a teenager but wouldn't want to read them again now. Some books you need to read at the right age.... Does anyone else remember Margaret Trouncer? another of my 15 year old self's favourites.

pollyperkins Mon 08-Aug-16 14:04:19

Anya Seton is in a different league to G Heyer. 'Katherine' which I read in my teens has stood the test of time with me and have reread it several times, getting more out of it every time. Read G Heyer in my late teens ,early 20s and really enjoyed the books but havent tried again. I remember great stories but I would say a light read - can't remember any particular characters or plots. Agree about Norah Lofts - always well written and gripping. Especially enjoyed the 'house' trilogy.

Lupatria Mon 08-Aug-16 14:18:02

collected all georgette heyer's books as a teenager and read them several times before storing them in a box.
two house moves later they're still in that box and i think i may well read them again.
i enjoyed them before and i know i will again.

Jalima Mon 08-Aug-16 14:35:55

I read all of Jean Plaidy's books when I was a teenager and was told by my history teacher that my GCE history mock result owed more to imagination than fact (22% shock)
However, I did buckle down to some studying and got a very respectable pass in the end grin

crozziefan23 Mon 08-Aug-16 14:51:15

I read a few in my teens, but now much prefer a good thriller. Linda la Plante, James Patterson, Lee Child, David Badacci etc. They can't write them fast enough for me!

M0nica Mon 08-Aug-16 15:26:06

I love them and constantly re-read them. They are the ultimate in comfort reading. When in hospital and in pain, awaiting a minor op I read four of them back to back (Yup, I had to wait that long for them to realise they hadn't put me on the list.). Wonderfully soothing but witty and clever and, as someone else said, not remotely Mills & Boon.

Quite a lot of very intellectual and clever women like them, including AS Byatt.

I have read a couple of her detective novels and found them disappointing. Cleverly crafted but with very two tone two dimensional characters, so surprising and unexpected.

NotSpaghetti Mon 08-Aug-16 16:14:12

I too haven't read any for a long time but also used to really enjoy them. My daughter read them in her teens too and collected a full set.

A history academic I know (a man) says they are accurate and well researched.

libra10 Mon 08-Aug-16 17:53:18

I've enjoyed reading Georgette Heyer's books since I was in my teens.

The books are warm and witty, and cleverly constructed, with wonderful laugh-out-load stories.

Most of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances I've read several times, and never tire of them.

Definitely worth reading!

homefarm Mon 08-Aug-16 18:42:03

Yes she did and if you enjoy this genre they are very good. Don't know about the Regency stuff, but she does write well .

merlotgran Mon 08-Aug-16 19:32:42

Did anyone else read the Juliette Benzoni books about Catherine and Arnaud?

Can't remember much about them now other than the one where Arnaud ends up in a leper colony but I couldn't put them down. Much more exciting than the usual romantic novels.

Blinko Mon 08-Aug-16 20:26:45

I read GH in my teens and have re read some of them since at various times. Favourites are These Old Shades and The Devils Cub, which features some of the same characters. I find them very well written and accurate to the regency period, if rather unlikely in terms of plot. Overall, great, escapist stuff!

Alima Mon 08-Aug-16 20:46:04

I also used to enjoy Anya Seton. Never read GH, probably never will.

Sheilasue Mon 08-Aug-16 21:04:18

Never read any, think I might have to

Battersea1971 Mon 08-Aug-16 21:21:15

I read GH in my teens. I also read Forever Amber which I thought was one of the most wonderful books ever. A couple of years ago I saw a copy in a charity shop so bought it. Forty odd years later, I was so disappointed as thought it a load of rubbish!!

M0nica Mon 08-Aug-16 22:59:56

I recently bought copies of Precious Bane and the Constant Nymph, both books were enormous best sellers when they were published in the 1930s, and still exercised their hold on readers in the late 40s and 50s, when I was a child. I found them two of the silliest books I have ever read and I struggled to finish Precious Bane. The spoof on it and its genre, Cold Comfort Farm, was a far better!

The thing about GH is that her works are pure escapism and she knew it. I have always had an interest in the history and culture of the early 19th century and in my reading have come across quite a few of the sources she used for her books and it is interesting to see just how faithful she is to her them in even the most frivolous plots of her books.

She based all her characters surnames on village names and DH has got used to me seeing signposts in areas of the country I am not familiar with and suddenly saying.'Oh, that's where GH got the surname of..... from.

barbarafyles Tue 09-Aug-16 08:57:45

All my copies are falling to bits I've read them so often. I started with Friday's Child and gradually built up all of them. My mum took them over and now I've got quite a few on kindle. If you're feeling a bit low or needing to relax, GH is right there with just the right story to help you. Great author.

barbarafyles Tue 09-Aug-16 08:58:06

All my copies are falling to bits I've read them so often. I started with Friday's Child and gradually built up all of them. My mum took them over and now I've got quite a few on kindle. If you're feeling a bit low or needing to relax, GH is right there with just the right story to help you. Great author.