When you speak of Regency romances, the first name you think of is Jane Austin. Which is only fair because Austin wrote romantic novels about the time in which she lived.
We recently received a client's vintage Georgette Heyer hardcover and paperback collection and set out to read up on the author. I would describe my knowledge of romance writers as good enough to survive the category on Jeopardy, but hardly more than that. So we started investigating...
Georgette Heyer was a much beloved British writer of historical romance and cozy mysteries. The bulk of her books were written in the 1930s through the 1950s, in total she produced more than 50 works of fiction in her lifetime.
Perhaps her Regency romances continue to be so beloved because they are so thoroughly researched and well written. She steeped herself in Regency culture, language, manners and mores. She was writing a hundred years in the future, (the general dates for the Regency period are 1811-1820) but her books are much admired accuracy.
We love Ms. Heyer's quote, as cited in The Guardian: She said of her work that “I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense, but it’s unquestionably good escapist literature.” (In our opinion, we all need a good escape, and those that provide it should not be regarded as lesser artists.)
One thing we noticed right off. The vintage covers on the paperbacks and hardcovers we have are prime. Absolutely smashing. Her books have been reprinted many times, with a few still in print, and the covers have changed a bit with each edition. Check out this Pinterest list to enjoy the graphics.
We can't really do Ms. Heyer justice, so here are some places to find out more:
janetogeorgette.com a site dedicated to Jane Austin and Georgette Heyer by Australian fan Eleanor Turner
Georgette-Heyer.com a fan site maintained by Sally Houghton.
An article from the Guardian about her home receiving landmark status (the plaque unveiling was attended by huge fan Stephen Fry) (including the photo of Ms. Heyer featured with this post)
The ubiquitous Wikipedia page on Georgette Heyer.