Today we have another guess post, this time by Li from Me and My Books. Thanks Li!
I've been a romance reader for years, yet I'm a relatively new Heyer fan.I'd always seen her books around, and sort of knew that she had a massive fan base, but I had never really been inspired to pick up any of her books.I think I'd somehow mentally categorised her books as boring and old-fashioned - gosh, was I wrong!
So what changed my mind?
I was browsing in the bookstore one day and saw her books (the then newly-released Arrow editions) taking up a couple of shelves. Needing to kill some time, I selected one at random, opened it to the first page and started reading... when I was still there ten minutes later, I figured that I should actually buy the book.
That book was The Grand Sophy and it kick-started a major Heyer glom. I was incredibly lucky that my new-found obsession with Heyer coincided with Arrow re-releasing all her books - thank you Arrow! Yes, it took a while, but now I'm pretty sure that I'm the proud owner of every single book Heyer wrote - and that includes her mysteries and a biography. Her books have intricate plotting, fascinating characters, wonderful dialogue, and beautifully-drawn settings - what more could you ask for?
Some of my favourite Heyers:
The Grand Sophy - This obviously holds a special spot in my heart because it's the first Heyer I ever read. But leaving that aside, this is a totally engrossing and fun read. Nicknamed "The Grand Sophy" for her habit of managing and organising people and events, Sophy arrives at her aunt's house for an extended stay and promptly gets involved in her cousins' madcap exploits. The romance is slow-blossoming in this one, but perfectly suited to the main characters, IMO.
These Old Shades - This is one of the few Heyers set in Georgian times. The Duke of Avon shows an unusual interest in Leon, a charming urchin he rescues from the street. I don't think it's giving much away to say it's a girl-in-disguise plot,and a story full of intrigue and drama. And I've a thing for stories set in the Georgian time period - you know, jewels, lace, high heels, and that's just the men!
Piece of trivia: These Old Shades is actually a follow-on from the first book she wrote to entertain her brother when he was sick (The Black Moth), but with the characters renamed.
The Masqueraders - Again, another cross-dressing plot, but very different from These Old Shades. Prudence and her brother are travelling in disguise to evade the authorities (following the failed Jacobite revolution), but end up drawing attention to themselves when they rescue a damsel in distress on their way to London. Heyer carries off this slightly implausible plot with panache, and as for the hero - swoon. He's neither dashing nor reckless nor rakish, instead he's a quiet capable "man-mountain" who proves that beta heroes can be wonderful.
Frederica - I know, I know, it's an obvious one, but this is probably the first Heyer I recommend when someone asks for a humorous Heyer. The eldest of the Merrivale family, Frederica begs her distant cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke, to sponsor her sister's coming-out.The growing relationship between the irrepressible Merrivale family members and the world-weary Marquis is depicted brilliantly, and the scene with the dog never fails to make me smile.
I could go on forever! I haven't mentioned False Colours, Cotillion, Arabella, Powder and Patch, or Devil's Cub, but I think I'll let you discover them for yourselves.