Georgette Heyer, Queen of Regency Romance

Georgette Heyer may be the founder and queen of Regency Romance, but she earned much of her bread and butter writing detective novels and a handful of “serious” historical novels.  Did I know that? Actually, as a Heyer fan, I did, but the new Heyer biography is chock full of information I didn’t know. For instance, “An Infamous Army” (which details the Battle of Waterloo amongst a classic romance) is required reading for students at Britain’s Sandhurst Military Academy because the battle scenes are so accurate and vivid.

Georgette Heyer, a 2013 biography by Jennifer Kloester, is not a kiss-and-tell. Georgette was an extremely private woman, granting only one or two interviews in her lifetime and burning her personal correspondence after reading it. Kloester, however, had the cooperation of Georgette’s family and, therefore, access to the papers that remained. What Kloester presents is and informative, engaging accounting of her professional life with occasional glimpses at the personal goings-on – her relationships with her parents, husband and son, interspersed with worries about finances – that she revealed in her amazingly chatty letters to her agents and her many publishers.

If you’re curious about the woman who wrote A Convenient Marriage, The Corinthian and (my favorite) Cotillion, among more than 50 titles, or about the business of writing (she gives sales figures), you’ll find this an entertaining read.

Regency Regards – Searching for Pemberly

This year, 2013, marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Peppered with wit and love, the enduring appeal of this book has spawned a veritable cottage industry of writers continuing the story, modernizing and expanding as they go.

One of my favorite newer takes on the Pride and Prejudice phenomena is “Searching for Pemberly,” by Mary Simonsen. This tale is set immediately after World War II and is told by Maggie Joyce, a young American working in London. When visiting a friend’s family home, it’s casually mentioned that the local manor is thought to be the “real” Pemberly  — Austen’s model for the fictional estate. Entranced by the thought, she digs deeper, building an enduring friendship with a local couple and their RAF pilot son, and a promising romance with an American pilot

Multiple love stories are woven together beautifully and tenderly. This is a page-turner, whether or not the reader is familiar with Austen’s seminal novel. I highly recommend this book.