ON-DITS

POLL: Best Heyer Marriage of Convenience Novel?

When love blooms after a marriage most practical, often due to proximity and shared experience, it is can be one of the romance world’s most glorious tropes. (Except when it isn’t.) This plot device was yet another arena in which Georgette Heyer excelled, making believable couples out of even the most reluctantly- or haphazardly-wed pair. Here, we ask: in which Marriage of Convenience plot did Heyer most please your romantic heart? Or did we perhaps leave out your favorite? Do let us know in the comments!

Favorite Heyer Marriage of Convenience Novel?
205 votes

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QUIZ: Heyer Heroes I

Our latest weekly Georgette Heyer Quiz! Over the next few months, we’ll be testing your knowledge of Heyer’s heroes and heroines… Go to it, Heyerites! Show us what you’re made of!

Georgette Heyer Quiz 5 — Heyer Heroes I

Think you know your Heyer? Let's see if you're a regular out and outer, or simply make a mull of it...

POLL: Favorite Heyer Governess

Ah, governesses! What would Regency romance be without them? Georgette Heyer began the trend, of course (as with so many others) with her inclusion of more than one variety of educated woman of refinement in her works — here, we ask the question, which of these Heyer governesses is the best? Or did we perhaps leave out your favorite? Do let us know in the comments!

Favorite Georgette Heyer Governess?
66 votes

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter III

In which we serialize Heyer Society editor Rachel Hyland’s first book in her Reading Heyer series, Reading Heyer: The Black Moth. Called “delicious” by Heyer expert Jennifer Kloester, it is a reading guide, critique and loving homage all in one. But mostly, it’s just a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy. Check back every Monday for another installment, or buy the book here.

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CHAPTER III: INTRODUCING THE HON. RICHARD CARSTARES

Ah, now has the time come for us to meet the cause of our mischievous Lord Jack’s villainy upon the High Road. His brother, Richard – or “Master Dick” to the good people of the countryside – paces impatiently, awaiting the arrival of Warburton, the family man of business whom we met in the first chapter. While he (and we) must wait, we get some background on the grand manor house in which we lay our scene (“Wyncham!,” Heyer exclaims; and it really does sound lovely), some insight into the differing personalities of the brothers Carstares, a snapshot of the county residents’ love of Jack and disdain for his “glum” younger brother, and the definite impression that Dick is punishing himself for his youthful transgression (remember: he cheated at cards, the scoundrel!) and his brother’s subsequent banishment by eating little (he’s described as “very thin”), sleeping less (he’s twenty-nine, but looks “twice his age”), and worrying a whole lot (his eyes are “haunted” and “care-worn”).

Sucks to be Dick.

Upon this wretchedness at last descends the censorious Warburton, who is full of tidings to know and share. He tells Richard that Jack is doing very well, all things considered; the “all things” basically being that his brother is a big fat lying liar who lies. Warburton, alone of almost all of Jack’s acquaintance, it would seem, never believed him capable of such reprehensible conduct as cheating at cards, and thus is Dick both abashed and forced to share the sordid tale of the night that he, in fact, did—and thus proves himself worthy of his name.

’Cause… what a dick.

It all happened at a private card party held at the home of Jack’s good friend, a Mr. Dare. Never very lucky at cards, Jack quite uncharacteristically won big at a particular table, and using a particular deck. Dick soon came to sit at the same table, with the same deck, and worrying over some outlandish gaming debts he’d already accrued—and at the same time “mad” for love of a young lady, Lavinia by name, whom he darkly suspected his brother of also coveting—he, in a fit of IOU-fuelled insanity, decided to scratch the cards slightly with his cravat pin, thereby letting him know the disposition of the Aces and Kings. Which… hm. Yes, probably would be helpful, wouldn’t it?

It is at this juncture that we meet again, via this breathless confession, our old friend from the Prologue, Hugh Tracy Clare Belmanoir, the Duke of Andover – who goes by “Tracy,” by the by. It also transpires that he is brother to that very Lavinia for whom Dick was so “mad” that he totally ho-before-bro’d, thereby precipitating this tale.

Tracy, so sharp-eyed as to be positively The Mentalist-like, noted the marked cards, was all like “J’accuse!” – but with great subtlety, of course – and Dick dickishly let his brother take the fall rather than lose his lady love. Jack, though hugely charismatic and beloved of all, was suddenly number one with a bullet on his friends’ Dead to Us board, and while Dick went on to marry his Lavinia and take unto himself as a brother-in-law the very man whom we now realize orchestrated the whole scandal (for, we must assume, inscrutable reasons of his own), his elder was cast penniless from their childhood home and left no recourse but to turn outlaw.

And you thought your siblings had done you wrong.

The rest is just Dick making excuses as to why he can’t ’fess up now (his wife, don’t you know; can’t have her “dragged through the mud”), and Warburton being a little more understanding of the circumstances surrounding his Master Jack’s exile – even as we, too, are more understanding. Although at the same time, you can almost hear him thinking: “What a dick.

THOUGHTS

Richard: you’re kind of an asshole. The “Hon.” Richard Carstares, my eye! (As an aside, I always felt that it is unfair – and is unnecessarily confusing – that all of the daughters of an Earl get to use the honorific “Lady,” whereas only the eldest son of that self-same peer can use “Lord” before their name, if they should chance not to be styled a Viscount or Baron. And yet younger sons of Marquises and Dukes are Lord Whomevers! And daughters of lesser nobility, like Barons and Viscounts, are mere “Honourables,” and apparently not ladies at all. So, why all of an Earl’s daughters but not all of his sons? And if an Earl’s daughters, then why not every nobleman’s daughters? WHY?)

(And, as a further aside: why do so many historical novelists get it wrong?)

Meanwhile, how about that Tracy Belmanoir, huh? What a repellently Machiavellian, yet thoroughly fascinating and increasingly tantalizing, piece of work. Dude’s so observant, he’s like Sherlock Holmes, Shawn Spencer and Lord Peter Wimsey all rolled into one. What did he have against Jack, we must wonder, that he would conspire to rid Society of that worthy gentleman’s… society? Why would he knowingly allow his sister to marry a man a who would, horrors, cheat at cards? Or are we wronging him, and in fact he’s just your garden variety tattletale?

We can only move on to Chapter IV, for whatever answers it might hold…


New chapters of Reading Heyer: The Black Moth will be posted here at Heyer Society each Monday. Or buy it here.

QUIZ: Short Stories, Getting Drunk and More

Our latest weekly Georgette Heyer Quiz! 10 questions, of varying degrees of difficulty… Go to it, Heyerites! Show us what you’re made of!

Georgette Heyer Quiz 4

Think you know your Heyer? Let's see if you're a regular out and outer, or simply make a mull of it...

POLL: Favorite Regency Personage in Heyer Novels

As we all know, Georgette Heyer was a stickler for historical accuracy, and it is from this that her readers have, often all unknowingly, gleaned an extensive knowledge of the period. Reading Heyer makes learning fun! Here, we ask the question: which of the real-life Regency notables do you most enjoy seeing (either in person, or merely referenced) in Heyer’s novels? Or did we perhaps leave out your favorite? Do let us know in the comments!

Favorite Regency Personage in Heyer Novels

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter II

In which we serialize Heyer Society editor Rachel Hyland’s first book in her Reading Heyer series, Reading Heyer: The Black Moth. Called “delicious” by Heyer expert Jennifer Kloester, it is a reading guide, critique and loving homage all in one. But mostly, it’s just a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy. Check back every Monday for another installment, or buy the book here.

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CHAPTER II: MY LORD AT THE WHITE HART

Well, Highwayman Jack has made it to Lewes, as was portended in the last chapter, and is putting up at the hostelry designated in this chapter’s title. He makes a clean breast of the day’s events to his man, the faithful Jim, detailing the successful theft of quite two hundred guineas belonging to a most objectionable and portly city merchant. (To say that Jack found the man objectionable due to his girth would be unfair, but one surmises that this certainly didn’t help matters.) We are given to understand that these ill-gotten gains were then turned over to “the poor” – establishing my lord as less of a ruffian, of course – and we begin conceive a liking for the thin and harried clerk accompanying the fat merchant, of whom Jack speaks most fondly.

Then who should then arrive at the White Hart but this very, apparently likeable, gent (later bestowed with the sobriquet of “spider man”—and this before Stan Lee was even born), alongside his disagreeable employer, prompting Jack to state that he will be making a longer stay in Lewes than he had originally intended, to “allay suspicion.” One also gets the impression he’d quite like to mess with not only the fat man, but also the authorities to which his crime will no doubt be reported. After making sure Jim is clued in to the cover story – Sir Anthony Ferndale, lately returned from France, making his way to London by easy stages – we adjourn to the coffee-room to witness Jack in fine fettle, convincing the city officials that he in fact just two hours earlier purchased the highwayman’s very recognizable horse (his beloved Jenny) from the rogue himself; and also corroborating the false description of the criminal given by the spider (one Chilter, by name) as monstrously tall, fat, coarsely-spoken and possessed of a scar running down his chin.

And then, having convinced everyone that he is in sooth a very august and praiseworthy gentleman, surely above suspicion for so base a crime as highway robbery, he goes and spoils it all by confessing his felony to Mr. Chilter!

Read MoreReading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter II”

QUIZ: Mysteries, Monarchs and More

Our latest weekly Georgette Heyer Quiz! 10 questions, of varying degrees of difficulty… Go to it, Heyerites! Show us what you’re made of!

Georgette Heyer Quiz 3

Think you know your Heyer? Let's see if you're a regular out and outer, or simply make a mull of it...

POLL: Favorite Heyer Novel Location

Do you most love the genteel surrounds of Lady of Quality and Bath Tangle? Or do the glittering balls and Hyde Park carriage rides seen in Arabella, Frederica and Powder and Patch most appeal? Perhaps it’s Venetia‘s estate-bound idyll, or Sprig Muslin‘s impromptu stay at a roadside inn, or all those ventures into foreign climes? Here, was ask the question: what is your favorite Heyer novel locale?

Favorite Heyer Novel Location?
48 votes

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“How to Be a Literary Critic” by Georgette Heyer

Just a month after her biting essay on biographies of the Brontës appeared in Punch, Georgette Heyer let loose with an even more pointed attack in those pages, this time on literary critics.

Heyer was ever beset by critics across her writing life, and while rare was the poor review of her work, those still stung — as they do us all.

Read More ““How to Be a Literary Critic” by Georgette Heyer”