Saturday, December 12, 2020

5 Books for a Georgette Heyer Fan

I'm missing doing a booze and books series, but towards the end of a socially isolated year when money is tight for a lot of us it doesn't feel particularly appropriate on any count so I thought I might put some book lists together instead - which is rather more like counting my blessings than drowning my sorrows.

The Georgette Heyer readalong on Twitter has been a highlight of this year, undemanding in terms of time, interesting discussions, friendly, and fun. There is a planned readalong of one of the short stories in Snowdrift/Pistols for Two for Christmas day (I can't remember which one off hand and can't find it quickly either, but as none of these are long short stories not much prep will be required).

One of the things that I love about Georgette Heyer the writer is the quantity of other writers and subjects she interested me in (there's a post about it here). This seems to be a common thing amongst Heyer readers so here's a very short selection from what could be a very long list.

Snowdrift - Pistols for Two w

as the original title for this collection, but then in 2016 it was retitled as 'Snowdrift' with the addition of 3 previously uncollected historical short stories. I'll take whatever new Heyer is going, so I bought it as soon as ever I could. Heinman/Arrow have been reissuing a bit of Heyer in very smart Christmas editions over the last few years, mostly the detective novels, sometimes renamed. They're worth a look if you like classic crime with a bit of humour and haven't previously tried her.

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics by Tom Keymer. This turned up as a review copy from OUP and was an absolute delight. When I'd finished Heyer as a teenager I moved straight onto Austen. They're most alike in terms of their humour. This little book explores different themes in Austen focusing on a different book for each topic. It's accessible, interesting, and will add something to any future reading of Austen. It's also perfect stocking filler size.

The Beau Monde - Hannah Greig. Also from Oxford University Press, this was waiting for me when I got home. I started reading it last night and so far it's really interesting. Definitely at the academic end of the scale it's not big on illustrations, but it's not intimidatingly long either and I'm really looking forward to a good bit of eighteenth century history.

Rory Muir's 'Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune; How Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England' from Yale books is the one on my wish list. If nobody buys it for me it will be time to use some of the book tokens I've been hoarding for just such an occasion. Might it be a book that stays on the shelf unread for years? Maybe, but it sounds interesting and I can't resist it much longer.

And finally  it's an overdue mention of Slightly Foxed. My subscription needs renewing so it will be my Christmas present to myself. I started subscribing sometime around volume 16, and have been enjoying it ever since. There's a podcast, they do their own beautifully bound editions of certain books, you can buy a bag - but it's the quarterly journal that really has my heart. A quarterly journal sounds like something that would be very much at home in Heyer's regency world (I think a couple are mentioned), I love getting the post and spending some quality time with it. It's gently enthusiastic, a pleasure to handle, and a treat I've enjoyed for more than a decade. 


  1. Shall I admit I have not read any Georgette Heyer books? I think I will start with her detective novels. Do you have any favorites? I am enjoying the Furrowed Middlebrow books, and have read two this month. I see their blog on your sidebar, I will take a visit there.

  2. Definitely start with the detective novels. they're not her best work, but they're fun and if you enjoy them you'll like the historical romances. Penhallow is an odd one - I've seen it suggested she wrote it in an attempt to break her contract with her publisher - and is not the one to start with, all the others run along the same lines and are good solid cosy stuff.

  3. As an Aussie I just cant get my head around reading a book on Christmas Day ...we are outdoors eating playing [cricket, new garden games et... and eating and playing until we drop !! Yes on the beach or by the pool ..totally different. I find myself hankering after a Northern Christmas just for a restive festive time.

    1. I think the restive part has as much to do with there being no young children in my immediate family - unless you count the dog, although climate does play a part. There's a lull after lunch when the dog has been walked wen we're to full of food to be very active and then it's tv or books for an hour or two - or possibly a snooze. I do really like this part of the day after all the rushing beforehand.