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.