Swashbuckling, Supportive, and Sweet: Heyer’s Most Enviable Brothers

One might say that Georgette Heyer’s love for her brother, Boris, was the catalyst for her entire writing career.  Five years younger than Heyer, Boris fell ill at the age of thirteen and was confined to bed for a prolonged period of time.  To entertain him, Heyer made up a story featuring the daring rogue, Jack Carstares.  That story would become her first published novel, The Black Moth.

A Sister and Her Younger Brother by Marie-Victoire Lemoine

A Sister and Her Younger Brother
by Marie-Victoire Lemoine

As close to her brother Boris as Heyer was, it is no wonder that amongst the spendthrifts, coxcombs, and ne’er-do-well male siblings that populate her novels, there are quite a few brothers that one might actually envy. In The Convenient Marriage, when Horatia’s brother Pelham, Viscount Winwood, overhears Mr. Drelincourt insult his sister, he not only throws a drink in his face and calls him “a damned little rat,” but challenges him to “swords or pistols.”  The next day, at the crack of dawn, Pelham upholds his sister’s honor by besting the awful Drelincourt in a duel and then promptly retiring to the Inn with his friends to gorge himself on breakfast – as brothers do. In False Colours, when Evelyn, Earl of Denville, goes missing on the eve of a dinner where he is to meet his future in-laws, his twin brother, Christopher “Kit” Fancot, takes his place.  Impersonating Evelyn for the majority of the novel, Kit manages to satisfactorily solve not only his brother’s problems, but those of his entire family.

The Marsham Children by Thomas Gainsborough, 1787.

The Marsham Children
by Thomas Gainsborough, 1787.

Neither as swashbuckling as Pelham, nor as clever as Kit, Bertram Tallant from Arabella still attempts to support his sister.  When he arrives in London to discover Arabella pretending to be an heiress, rather than expose her, he falls right in with her deception.  “If anyone asks me any prying questions,” he tells her, “I shall say you are well known to me.” Venetia’s Aubrey Lanyon may not be any sort of hero, but he is, in many ways, an ideal brother.  Intelligent, witty, and an incredibly good judge of character, he and his elder sister are so close that she plans to accompany him when he goes away to school so that she can keep house for him.  Instead, Venetia falls in love with Lord Damerel, but even in this Aubrey has a hand, for it is during his recovery at Damerel’s estate after a riding accident that his sister and Damerel begin to develop their friendship. The final brother on our list is also the youngest.  Felix, from Frederica, cannot take a very active role in defending or supporting his sister, but he is irrepressibly adorable and, much like Aubrey in Venetia, it is while nursing Felix back to health after an accident that Frederica and Lord Alverstoke fall in love.

The Oddie Children by Sir William Beechey, 1789.

The Oddie Children by Sir William Beechey, 1789.

Cast your vote for Georgette Heyer’s Most Enviable Brother!  There are no limits on how many times you can vote and, as always, if you have a preference for a different brother (Robin from The Masqueraders, for example, or Dysart from April Lady), I encourage you to write in your choice below.

The Poll is Now Closed.

The Results:

1st Place: Felix Merriville from Frederica with 26% of the vote.

2nd Place: Christopher “Kit” Fancot from False Colours with 20% of the vote.

3rd Place: A tie between Pelham, Viscount Winwood from The Convenient Marriage and Aubrey Lanyon from Venetia with 10% of the vote each.

4tht Place: A three-way tie between Bertram Tallant from Arabella; Robin from The Masqueraders (by write-in); and Dysart from April Lady (by write-in).

Honorable Mention: One vote each by write-in for Frederick Standen from Cotillion; Hugh Thane from The Talisman Ring; Rupert Alastair form These Old Shades; Jessamy Merriville from Frederica; Peregrine Taverner from Regency Buck; and Simon Carrington from Charity Girl.

Thank you for voting!

Mimi Matthews is the author of The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries (to be released by Pen and Sword Books in November 2017).  She researches and writes on all aspects of nineteenth century history—from animals, art, and etiquette to fashion, beauty, feminism, and law. 

© 2015-2017 Mimi Matthews

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10 thoughts on “Swashbuckling, Supportive, and Sweet: Heyer’s Most Enviable Brothers

    • Mimi Matthews says:

      I’m so glad you enjoy the posts, Louisa! I loved Aubrey too. He was so smart and so loyal to his sister, especially in the face of the awful Mrs. Scorrier! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Like

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