Member Profile: Geraldine Connor

In which we get to know our members a little better…

Name: Geraldine Connor
Nationality: Australian

How old were you when you read your first Georgette Heyer novel?

15 (Grade 10).

What was it? Powder and Patch.

How did you discover her work?

Cruising the shelves down at the local council library one day (in the Eighties!). I used to haunt the place. I think I was looking for more Jane Aiken Hodge novels and came across the Heyer one.

Did Heyer lead you to read other authors in similar genres?

Probably more the other way – later authors led me back to her: Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge and, for crime, Agatha Christie. I was so excited to find a ‘new’ author and one with such a back catalogue! I was right into reading lots of historical fiction such as The Three Musketeers (Dumas), Jane Eyre (Bronte) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy) and Georgette Heyer was a great fit.

Which of her books have you read the most often? Frederica, Sylvester, The Masqueraders, Black Sheep and Devil’s Cub.

Which, if any, would you never read again? My Lord John – I hardly remember it which is saying something because I usually remember them well, and Cousin Kate – a bit dark and twisted, but an interesting experiment with the gothic and psychology.

If you could be a Heyer heroine, which would you choose?

Prudence from The Masqueraders because she gets to dress as a man and really sees another world that few women would have access to. Her life is so exciting and a bit edgy, but she gets to dress well and participate in all sorts of adventures. Even though she is in disguise, she is always herself. The bonus is she gets to marry a man with a sense of humour who also has a real perception, wit and strength of character.

Which Heyer hero (or heroine) would make the best husband/wife/partner?

Lord Damerel from Venetia. Yes, he’s lived a debauched life up until he meets Venetia, but he’s reached a stage where all that has now palled and he has found someone who he can truly love and it’s highly likely he would love and respect her tremendously for the rest of their lives. Plus he’s well-read, funny, patient and very kind, yet also clear-eyed about human foibles, his own included.

How has Georgette Heyer influenced your life?

She is my favourite author. I get excited when I find out that someone I know also reads her or I introduce her books to someone and they love them as much as I do. A long time ago I was quite taken with the fact that my grandmother and great aunts used to read them as well, but they probably read them when they were just published! At the beginning of my Christmas holidays, I often start a reading binge with a re-read of a few of her novels and if everyday life is a bit much sometimes, I’ll retreat to a Georgette for a mood boost. Her vocabulary is also remarkably impressive and reading her across many years has certainly added to mine – a very good thing for an English teacher. I own a copy of just about all of her novels and like to see the different covers you present in the newsletters to see where my copy fits. Some of my close friends know how much I love GH and one of them organised my subscription to the Heyer Society – such a great present!