Georgette Heyer’s Most Beloved Novel

The Thick of the Plot by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

The Thick of the Plot by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

Filled with sparkling wit, frothy romance, and impeccable period details, every single one of Georgette Heyer’s Georgian and Regency novels has something to recommend it.  There are runaway balloons, devoted rescue dogs, kidnappings, duels, brooding Yorkshire heroes, and “that Greek fellow.”  How can a Heyer fan choose only one favorite?  It would be unfair of anyone to ask us to do so.  Nevertheless, it seems only fitting that for the final Georgette Heyer poll we address ourselves to the difficult task. Continue reading

Nurses, Valets, & Tigers: Georgette Heyer’s Most Unforgettable Servants

A Distraction from Chores by Auguste Serrure, 1903.

A Distraction from Chores by Auguste Serrure, 1903.

The townhouses and country estates that house the heroes and heroines of Georgette Heyer’s novels are not staffed by servants who fade discreetly into the background.  Instead, we encounter all manner of outrageous characters.  There are fighting valets, kleptomaniacal tigers, and nurses who preach fire and brimstone.  In real life, any one of these domestics would be let go without a reference.  In a Heyer novel, however, their hilarious hijinks are endlessly entertaining – and utterly unforgettable. Continue reading

Courtship, Proposals, and Marriage: Heyer’s Most Memorable Couples

Signing the Register by Edmund Leighton Blair.

Signing the Register by Edmund Blair Leighton .

Much like in a Shakespearean comedy, the end result of most of Georgette Heyer’s novels is a marriage.  We may not see the wedding and we are certainly never privy to the honeymoon, but make no mistake, from start to finish, a Heyer romance is all about the happy couple.  With that in mind, I have carefully selected five popular pairings from Heyer’s Georgian and Regency novels.  I present to you below the contenders for Georgette Heyer’s Most Memorable Couple. Continue reading

Romance, Wit, and Drama: The Heyer Novel Best Suited to the Small Screen

Ackermann's Print: The Royal Circus, 1809.

Ackermann’s Print: The Royal Circus, 1809.

Georgette Heyer’s novels have been adapted to the screen only twice before and each time was a disaster.  As a result, fans often worry over all the things that could go wrong if an adaptation were ever attempted again.  I want you to instead imagine for a moment what a Heyer adaptation would look like if everything went right.  Imagine a miniseries.  Not just any miniseries, mind you.  I’m talking about a beautifully written, impeccably cast, gorgeously filmed, historical costume epic.  Now keep that image in your mind as I present to you the contenders for the Heyer Novel Best Suited to the Small Screen. Continue reading

Simply Smoldering: Georgette Heyer Heroes that Burn up the Page

The Kiss by Carolus- Duran, 1868.

The Kiss by Carolus-Duran, 1868.

Georgette Heyer novels are not as explicit as many of the historical romances in circulation today.  But make no mistake, Heyer’s heroes are capable of generating just as much heat as their shirtless modern day counterparts.  With that in mind, I have carefully selected five of the most smoldering leading men from Heyer’s Georgian and Regency novels.  I present to you below the contenders for Georgette Heyer’s Hottest Hero. Continue reading

Oafs, Cawkers, and Curst Dandies: Heyer’s Heroes with Hidden Depths

Le Bon Genre, Plate No. 13.

Le Bon Genre, Plate No. 13.

At first glance, some of the gentlemen in Georgette Heyer’s novels don’t quite measure up to our idea of a hero.  Instead of dashing, quick-witted, wealthy, and capable men in the mold of the Duke of Avon, the Marquis of Alverstoke, and the Earl of Worth, we are given a collection of fellows ranging from seemingly ignorant lummoxes to dandified nitwits who may well be soft in the head. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

Dangerous, Depraved, and Despicable: Heyer’s Most Villainous Villains

Duel DrawingNo matter how dashing the hero or fashionable the heroine, no matter how stylish the carriage or adorable the pet dog, a Georgette Heyer novel simply does not work without a villain.  Whether that villain is an out and out criminal or a spoiled young society miss, their presence in the story provides much needed conflict and, on occasion, even a bit of mystery and danger. Continue reading

Phaetons, Curricles, and Coaches: Heyer’s Most Coveted Carriages

High Perch Barouche

High Perch Sociable Barouche, 1816.
(R. Ackermann, London)

If you are an avid reader of Georgette Heyer’s novels, you’re well aware that an outstanding equipage with a team of first-rate cattle (i.e. horses) is essential for any well-to-do lady or gentleman about town.  You know all about phaetons and curricles, teams of match-bays that are “slap up to the echo,” and heroes and heroines that can drive “to an inch.”  After all, you have accompanied your favorite Heyer characters on trips to Tattersall’s, drives through Hyde Park, uncomfortable journeys by accommodation coach, and ill-advised races from London to Brighton. Continue reading

Beaux, Bucks, Rakes, and Dandies: Georgette Heyer’s Most Dashing Heroes

If you are looking for rugged, alpha-males in historical costume, Georgette Heyer may not be the romance author for you.  The typical Heyer hero is as concerned with the cut of his coat and the starched folds of his cravat as he is with romancing the heroine. Regency Men's Costume 1813 And who can blame him?  Tying a cravat is a serious business.

“Sit down, Fitz,” says Perry in Regency Buck when a friend interrupts him while he is dressing, “and don’t move, don’t speak, till I’ve done with this neck-cloth!”

That’s not to say that our gentlemen of fashion are not up to the mark in other areas.  Whether possessed of a “punishing left” like Lord Worth in Regency Buck or “the most notable whip in the country” like Robert Beaumaris in Arabella, Georgette Heyer’s leading men are physically, as well as fashionably, formidable. Continue reading