Friday, April 23, 2010

Hey There, Georgie Girl! (Part I)

In our continuing series "Life After Betty" we here at The Uncrushable Jersey Dress have been recommended several different authors...I'd like to talk about one author today (with a special thanks to Betty Janet for getting me started on her).

Georgette Heyer. My local library actually has a ton of Heyer books, and I was lucky enough to get a bunch of them. After reading Cotillion, I was intrigued. I liked the book quite a bit...but I wouldn't be found sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S....I did like the way Heyer crafted most of the story...and for such a long frothy story, that was saying something. So in I dove. Since nearly everyone who recommended Heyer had a different favorite, I figured I'd just have to read what was available and make up my own mind.

The Masqueraders. A boy disguised as a girl and a girl disguised as a boy...because their father told them to. They each manage to fall in love...but when a boy dressed as a girl falls in love with a girl, how is he to woo her? And when a girl dressed as a boy falls in love with a man...ditto. Quite the tangled web...which is all untangled by the happily ever afters. Delightful. (I would buy this one...)

Sprig Muslin. At first I didn't think I would like this book. A very respectable man is traveling on his way to propose to an old maidish woman whom he has known and liked for years. He ends up practically abducting a beautiful 16 year old run-a-way. For her own good. Most of the book involves him thwarting her escapes and countering her endless supply of lies...which at first were annoying, but then you just can't help but see how audacious and occasionally brilliant they are - even when they backfire.(I might buy this one...)

The Reluctant Widow. Meeting and marrying a man on his deathbed? Where's the fun in that? This book just missed being enchanting. The heroine is a bit too whiny for my taste (although, in all fairness, she had plenty to grumble about). Hidden staircases, murder, manslaughter, spies, lost military secrets - these all add up to a more serious story. Which is okay, just not one of my favorites. (Library check-out only).

Sylvester. The Duke of Salford may as well be Mr. Darcy. He is very proud and also very correct in his manners, to everyone. He decides it's time that he marries so that he may...*ahem*...beget an heir to his awesomeness. He tells his mother that he has looked over the eligible bachelorettes and narrowed the choice down to five. He plans on choosing one - but he doesn't have any particular preferences...she suggests another girl (Phoebe) - and so he goes off to meet and perhaps marry her. Trials and troubles ensue...he finally begins to see that perhaps he might be a tad proud, she begins to see....I love that his mother is the one who pretty much proposes for him. (I would buy it in a minute, if I found it at a thrift store)

The Grand Sophy. Sophy is a force of nature. If I had to describe her I would have to say that she strongly reminds me of Barbara Streisand in Hello Dolly. Only younger. When her father goes off to Brazil on a diplomatic mission, she stays with her cousins in London. And she fixes everyone. She has great dash and verve - this is one book that I would describe as "a romp". Quite, quite fun. So far, it's my favorite. Read it. Now. (I will definitely be buying this one...I can see us becoming quite good friends).


  1. Something about 'The Grand Sophy' tickles my memory. I could swear I've read it. Anyway, I've decided to read it again--if I get a minute!

  2. What the heck is "sprig" muslin? I thought it was a typo for "spring" until I noticed the cover title.

  3. I'm imagining "sprigs" of flowers or leaves on muslin...

  4. via email:

    So glad you are enjoying Heyer's books! She's a long-time favorite author of mine.

    Sprig muslin: I believe "sprig" denotes the kind of decoration on the fabric: some sort of small decorative design all over (small flower or some such). I don't think it would be a print--maybe embroidered? The title comes (I have always assumed) from the 16-year-old girl who is the main engine of the plot (although not the heroine--Heyer does this from time to time, e.g. "Charity Girl" and "The Foundling"). Sprig muslin was considered a suitable fabric for young ladies' dresses. (I make no claim to expertise in historical costume, however.)

    Betty Maria

  5. I would not say Reluctant Widow and Sprig Muslin are two of her best (and I have 'em all) ... for a very different Heyer, try Black Sheep. And April Lady is unusual (married couple but no Brighton ... or shall we say nothing overt). Lucky you reading them for the first time!

  6. My mom got me started on GEorgette heyer...and she also got me started on Betty Neels!! I own two bookshelves worth of Betty Neels (anyone need books-ask me I probably have extra copies). My next mission is to collect Georgette Heyers. If you get the chance, read "The convenient Marriage" and "The Faro's daughter" (my first G.H...sigh!)
    Essies Summers is another great author too(Thanks Mom!) though it's all Kiwiland in her books all the way.

  7. My Essie Summers obsession is well documented. I think we're soul Bettys.

  8. Yes, we are....and guess what, my name starts with K too!!!
    It's Kirthi :)

  9. Sylvester and The Grand Sophy are two of my favorites. I used to have a bunch of Heyers but now only have 6, I think.

    BritHub 1.0's family has them all in (I think) first editions. I lust over these, but I'm not sure I'll have a shot at getting them when my ex-mother-in-law pops off.

  10. I love all of GH's mysteries!
    The only problem is finding any of them used in local thriftshops!!! Hah!