Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811), is also the first Austen novel mentioned in a Heyer story. In Regency Buck (1935), the heroine Judith Taverner comes across the book in Hookham’s Library and is instantly attracted to the writer’s style. She observes “Surely the writer of that must possess a lively mind? I am determined to take this book. It seems all to be written about ordinary people…”
It is clear that Heyer admired the novel and thirty years later she would use its basic plot of two very different sisters – one all sense and the other all sensibility – in her own novel, Frederica (1965). A highly entertaining story, Heyer’s sisters are also emotional opposites, but the plot carries them in a very different direction from Austen’s tale.
In False Colours (1963), Heyer again uses the “sense and sensibility” plot device, only this time instead of sisters, she portrays twin brothers in a lively tale of impersonation and revelation. Kit is all sense and Evelyn has a taste for the dramatic.
CONCLUSION: If you love Sense and Sensibility, read Frederica and False Colours.
TOMORROW: Pride and Prejudice!
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.