Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Need Nothin' But Heyer

So I am once again phoneless, this time slightly more permanently as I await a replacement for my broken phone.  And since I have nothing else to do, it's time for more reviews.  I'm actually a fair way towards catching up on my backlog, partially because this next review is a compound… of all the Georgette Heyers I've read over the past few months (quite a number of months, I don't think I've reviewed the ones I read back in Baltimore and that was 8/9 months ago).  Not sure if I'll remember them all without my list (which is on my broken phone, and which I just realized I may never be able to retrieve :() But here goes…

I. The Grand Sophy
I read this one a while ago, so I'm not sure how much of a point there is in reviewing it - I don't really remember any specific impressions I had of it on this reading.  I know I liked it - this was the first GH I reread and I was eager to finish it, reading my own copy at home because I left Baltimore before finishing S.b.'s copy.  Which makes me realize that this was not a book I read when I was staying in Baltimore after BB was born, since I didn't go straight home then.  Must have been S.b.'s or Huvi's sheva brachos.  In any case, still a while ago.  And it was great.  It's funny, I think I care less about romance than I used to, maybe enjoy a little (a very little less).  But GH's books have only become more enjoyable since the romance is only a small part of what makes them good.  The characters, the dialogue, the humor - The Grand Sophy has those all in generous quantities, and that's what makes it one of the best.

II. Cotillion
This one was also read in starts and stops, partially in Baltimore, partially at home (I think at home, I know I took the book home to return it to Batya, its rightful owner).  Again, very enjoyable and again, I don't remember much about my specific impressions.  This one has a lot of story to it, and maybe not the most interesting story.. but GH makes it work, everything moving along swiftly enough to keep me from getting impatient.  And the characters (Freddy!) and romance all in good working order.  Another good one, though not quite as brilliant as the Grand Sophy I'd say.

III. The Unknown Ajax
Well here's something different - I don't own a copy of this one (though I've had Gital's since I borrowed it when we went to them for Shabbos in January and she has another one so I may buy this one off of her) and I've only read it once, if I recall correctly, and that back when I read all the GHs, in 9th grade.  So you can surmise that this was not one of my favorites then, and I wouldn't say it has become one of my favorites since.  But I've been in the mood to read it for a while, I think because it was cited a lot in Jennifer's Kloester's GH's Regency World (reviewed earlier on this blog), which made me think it was more Heyer-y than I had previously attributed.  Anyway, there's a reason this one wasn't one of my favorites - it's not a typical Heyer Regency skipping along merrily through the glittering Mayfair throng - it takes place on a rather impoverished (though noble, don't worry ;)) estate in Devon.  And the main character is a soldier - of low birth! (well low birth on one side, on the other he's heir to a Baroncy :)) And the story is less about the romantic relationship between our protagonists than about their family issues (they're cousins) and all that.  So yeah, not typical Heyer fun.  But still, the characters and the dialogue are there, and the romance too, though not so prominently.  And the story moves along well enough as usual.  I really think GH is a better writer than even I give her credit for :) Maybe I should even give her mysteries a try… well that might be taking it too far.  The Unknown Ajax, while maybe not quite in her typical bent, is still most definitely a Heyer Regency romance, and thus enjoyable by default :)

IV. The Corinthian
So after reading a few old favorites (I'm pretty sure there's one more I'm not remembering that hopefully I'll review below) and one lesser known work, I took the medium ground.  The Corinthian isn't one of my absolute favorite Heyers, but I've read it multiple times and liked it enough to purchase it (actually I'm a little surprised that I did, it was probably one of the last ones on my list of necessary ones :)) It's good, but against its favor, we have the setting - the road to Bristol (i.e. not London), the plot - jewel heist and cross-dressing drama (i.e. not dances and card parties :)), and the couple - suave older guy and silly young woman (i.e. not someone you want to see humbled by love and not someone you particularly see as fall-in-lovable).  But, but, but… we still have our awesome hero (that's probably why I have always rated this book highly) and a well-told romance.  And writing that makes it all very easy reading.  I think I'm seeing a theme here… GH is THE MAN (figuratively :))

V.  I thought there was another one, but I went through my books and I couldn't think of another one I had read recently (other than the two I reviewed back in December).  So I guess it's conclusion time - which I already stated above, GH can write! I love these books for the romance first and foremost of course, and for the setting that has become so closely associated with romance (of course because it's such a fun setting in the first place :)) But then there's the dialogue and the humor… part of it is acquired taste, but there's not doubt that Georgette Heyer is a talented author.  Glad her books are still living up to the test of time, and multiple re-readings :)

Verdict: 5! 5! 5 out of 5! (I'm imitating The Count from Sesame Street, which I picked up from Lauren Willig's website, if you're wondering)

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