Jane Austen was Georgette Heyer’s favourite novelist. Introduced to Austen by her literary father, Heyer read Austen from a young age, imbibing her tone and style and developing an appreciation of the kind of ironic comedy at which Austen excelled. It is no coincidence that Heyer’s most successful novels are those set in same period in which Austen herself lived and wrote her famous books.
It has been said that Georgette Heyer is the next best thing after reading Jane Austen. While Heyer herself would have been the first to declare she was not in Austen’s league, her historical novels have their own genius. In part this may be because many of Heyer’s novels find their roots in one or more of the six books that made Jane Austen famous. Heyer never directly imitates Austen, but instead used elements of Austen’s stories as the starting point for her own original works. The seeds sown by Austen’s literary genius are evident in many of Heyer’s plots, characters and dialogue, as well as in her penchant for depicting human foibles via comic irony.
For those of you who love Austen, across the next two weeks I’ll be delivering some Austen-Heyer pairings which I hope will give as much pleasure to readers as the pairing of delicious food and exceptional wine.
Which is your favourite Austen novel? Did you know there is a Georgette Heyer novel to match it in mood and spirit? Tune in tomorrow for the first post in this new series by famed literary scholar Jennifer Kloester, author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and the forthcoming masterwork Jane Austen’s Ghost.