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Ships in bay

Sylvester - Georgette Heyer

I don't have many 'comfort read' authors... I suppose the truth being that I'm not often in need of *real* comfort reading because I'm rarely that unhappy. But sometimes you just want something familiar that you know has a happy ending and for me Georgette Heyer fits the bill nicely. I used to reread her on a regular basis, whizzed through as many as I could before I got bored and moved on. These days I pick the odd one up from time to time, devour it, think about reading more and then don't. Not sure what that says but there you go. So anyway, this week it was Sylvester for the umpteenth time of reading.

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My copy is dated 1970 and it took me a while to find a pic of the cover. I wanted to as I'm particularly fond of this rather nautical scene and wouldn't replace my copy for anything. Though, perhaps I *should* get a new one for rereading to stop my favourite one from falling to peices! Anyway, along with Frederica, Arabella, The Black Sheep, Lady of Quality and Venetia, Sylvester is one of my favourite Heyers. I would put it near the top too, probably right after Frederica.

It's a fairly common Regency plot to be honest. Phoebe Marlow lives with her father, step-mother and step-sisters. To a (wo)man they are all intimidated by the step-mother who, while not actually cruel, is cold and overbearing. The Duke of Salford, Sylvester, is looking for a wife but not one who will disturb his equilibrium and ordered life. He sets off, on his godmother's suggestion, to look over Phoebe. Phoebe is incensed at being made to feel like a peice of horseflesh and not a little alarmed too as she has written a book where Salford is the thinly disguised villain - based on a couple of previous brief encounters with him. She does a runner with a male friend and ends up being helped out of the mess by Salford. The story doesn't end there of course. Many misunderstandings and adventures follow until a satisfying conclusion is eventually reached.

If the plot is so common why do I love the book so much? I suppose it must be the writing. Heyer's style is faultless and intelligent but still incredibly readable. Her books also possess a wonderful sense of humour which tends to be missing in modern equivalents. To my mind she has no equal in the Regency romance genre - though I'm not counting Jane Austen as her books are rather more than Regency romances! So, I shall definitely reread more and probably dig out a few that I rarely reread and can hardly remember. But not just yet.

Comments

After The Grand Sophy, I definitely want to read more by Georgette Heyer. Thanks for the suggestions. :)
If you liked The Grand Sophy then you would also probably like The Black Sheep, Lady of Quality and Venetia as these are 'older woman, older hero' type stories. More realistic perhaps than the 'girl just out of the schoolroom, older hero' sort but, to tell the truth, they're all fun.
Oh, gee, I love Georgette Heyer! I read The Unknown Ajax first. Frederica is my favorite overall, but Cotillion takes the prize for secondary characters' remarks - as if Avon had stepped over into a universe with different relatives.

I used to read Heyer in alternation with Louis L'Amour Westerns - a sort of sweet and salty combo.
I'm not sure what it is about Frederica but it does seem to be a lot of people's favourite - it's certainly mine. I have about 15 Heyers, including The Unknown Ajax which I don't remember well, and Cotillion which, oddly enough, is the one I took out to read when I next read a Heyer. I don't remember that too well either. My eldest daughter has the complete collection and knows them off by heart.
Yes, that one is great fun, especially with the little boy. "...pain in my puddinghouse..."

I think Venetia is my overall favourite, though it's difficult to choose. There are so many delectable bits. And Friday's Child has some wonderfully funny moments, especially Monty's attempt at abducting Isabella.

Yes... little Edmund! The scene with him and Sir Nugent Fotherby after he's cut off the tassels on Sir Nugent's precious boots is a hoot.

Venetia is a favourite of mine too. Quite a bit more realistic than many of her others. Haven't reread that or Friday's Child in an age. In fact - I haven't got Friday's Child, must put that right.
Oooh, Georgette Heyer! Yummy. The Grand Sophy was the first one I read, and for that reason it's probably my favorite, but I recall so many of them fondly... The Unknown Ajax is so slyly humorous, as the hero pretends to be Socially Backward while winding up his snobbish relatives something hilarious!

But A Civil Contract has a special place in my heart. Plain, honest love triumphs over popular romantic notions about the nature of the emotion, and the story's culmination reminds me a lot of Sense And Sensibility in some ways.

Everyone gets just what they deserve in a Georgette Heyer book; I love it! If only Real Life were so fair and equitable.
The Grand Sophy is a big favourite of mine too. I'm not sure I've read The Unknown Ajax more than once because I can hardly remember anything about it. You're making me want to dig them all out reread the lot now. :-)

Georgette Heyer

I adore GH and always have done ever since I was a teenager. I think she is a much underrated writer and historian. Her portrayal of the Battle of Waterloo in An Infamous Army is a text at the Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK. My favourite is A Civil Contract, closely followed by Devil's Cub and The Talisman Ring. I have every single one on my shelves

Re: Georgette Heyer

I'm a bit odd in that I didn't discover GH until I was in my early thirties. As far as I'm concerned she is 'the best' when it comes to Regencies, no one else can touch her. She never beats you over the head with her research and always there's that wonderful dry humour. I think I'm going to set about collecting them all too and have already bought two more to add to the pile.