Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), has become an iconic story and Heyer uses its basic plot of misunderstanding and instant dislike between hero and heroine in several of her books. Sylvester, Arabella, Regency Buck, Bath Tangle¸ Faro’s Daughter and The Grand Sophy all have strong elements of both pride and prejudice between the stories’ main protagonists and, though the stories are very different from each other and from Austen’s tale, there are plenty of Austenesque moments to delight both the Austen and the Heyer reader.
Perhaps Sylvester (1957) draws closest to Pride and Prejudice. In it, the heroine, Phoebe Marlow, is condescended to by Sylvester, Duke of Salford at a ball. She sees him as arrogant, while he is barely aware of her existence. Sparks fly when these two are thrown together and, though the story is unlike any Austen novel, for the discerning reader there are many moments when Heyer takes delight in paying homage to her favourite author.
It is the heroine’s pride that drives the story in Faro’s Daughter (1941). Deb is enraged when she discovers that Max Ravenscar thinks she is a wench out of a gaming house determined to ensnare his nephew into marrying her. She resolves to teach Mr Ravenscar a lesson, while he is determined to put her firmly in her place. Arrogance and anger combine to create a fiery romance.
CONCLUSION: CONCLUSION: If you love Pride and Prejudice, read Sylvester and Faro’s Daughter.
TOMORROW: Mansfield Park!
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 next 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.