Heyer for Beginners — Devil’s Cub (1932)

Another sequel?

I really had it in my mind that Georgette Heyer really didn’t do those. Yet, here we are, two sequels interrupted only by one rather heavy historical fiction novel — I wonder if that’s why this sequel exists? That Heyer was so exhausted from the rigors of in-depth research that she needed to set her mind to a world she had already created and could more easily control.

Not that anyone could believe Dominic, Marquis of Vidal, is controllable. In fact, a more volatile brat of a hero I have rarely read, and his planned seduction of a young woman — but then not marrying her, and essentially leading her to an unwilling career in sex work — really taints him for me. His father, the Duke of Avon, had his shady past, of course, but we didn’t see it in action, for all that we know he abducted the lovely Jennifer against her will, several years before the book began. He, at least, had intended to wed her.

Mary Challoner, the woman who so bravely saves her sister from an ignominious fate at the hands of Vidal, is another matter. She is by far my favorite Heyer heroine yet. Oh, I liked Prudence, and Leonie is adorable, in this book as well as in her own, but Mary is a firebrand, and right up until she falls for Dominic’s bad boy wildness, she could easily be transplanted into a contemporary twenty-first century novel and not be out of place.

Actually, even after she fell for the bad boy, she wouldn’t be out of place. There are a lot of “bad boy redeemed” stories in modern romance, after all.

The best part of this book, though, is definitely the reappearance of the Avon family, and I still love Lord Rupert so much, I really wish he had his own romance. If Heyer was going to go in for the sequel route (which it turns out she did, and which most historical romance novelists do these days), I do wish she’d given us his happily every after.

I don’t suppose she did, though?


Maura Tan was born in Zanzibar, grew up in Morocco and lives in Singapore, where she is currently studying for her third degree in Contemporary Literature—when not writing reviews for Romantic Intentions Quarterly and eating her body weight in durian.

POLL: Best Heyer Historical Fiction Novel?

In addition to her creation of Regency Romance and her assorted romantical romps through various other time periods, Georgette Heyer was a serious scholar who loved to bring history — often painful, brutal history — to life. She wrote five novels based very significantly on real events, but which of them is your favorite?

Vote and let us know! 

Favourite Heyer Historical Fiction Novel?
45 votes

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter VI

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 VI: 29 QUEEN SQUARE

If you’d had even the merest shred of liking for the horrible Veruca Saltiness of Lady Lavinia Carstares before now, it will doubtless be readily dispelled in the first paragraph of this chapter. Remember how weary she was of being immured in the country, at the palatial estate of her brother-in-law, the new Earl of Wyncham? Well, her husband, the aptly named Dick, gave into her blandishments and took her to London, indulging her there in pretty much her every whim whilst constantly being confronted by her flock of adoring swains, Lavinia being the kind of woman who only feels alive when the cynosure of all possible male attention.

But now this unlikeable pair have taken a house in Bath—even though one of them would rather have returned home to their young son, John. But Lavinia “… did not care to be with the child, and was perfectly content that Richard should journey occasionally to Wyncham to see that all was well with him.”

Ugh.

Also in Bath is… why, hello again, villain-of-our-piece Tracy! And, what’s this? You’re in love? With a young lady who has no interest in you? Who is, in fact, afraid of you? And so you plan to… wait… abduct her?

Oh, okay then. Awesome.

Wait, again. What was that you said. You plan to abduct her but not marry her? You just want to… ohhhh.

Well, not liking you so much either, buddy. Be as suave, sarcastic and scene-stealing as you like from now on, it won’t matter a bit. No one is going to be your friend. Except, perhaps, for your equally repellent sister, who’s main objection to your dark design is that a scandal such as this would bring your family name into disrepute, and not the… ahem… “forcible seduction” of an innocent.

Yes, that’s right, be off with you, Tracy. Leave your sister to her apparent manic depression (she’s up and down like a yo-yo, this Lavinia), her obsession with gowns and her foolishly lenient husband. Get out of here, and go force yourself on some poor young woman you’ve apparently taken a shine to because she doesn’t like you at all.

What could possibly go wrong?

THOUGHTS

Look, I would like to discuss in greater depth Lavinia’s evident undiagnosed mental disorder and the whole “taking the waters at Bath” thing, and at some point I will – doubtless, the opportunity will arise again –  but let’s focus here on the main gist of this chapter: Tracy plans to kidnap a young woman on whom he has a crush, and then, to use his words, “have her.” He’s going to “bring her to heel” and “break her” and “tame her.”

“She is the daintiest piece ever a man saw, and I’ll swear there’s blood and fire beneath the ice!”

he exclaims with relish. Aw, how sweet. He loves the fire so much he can’t wait to extinguish it.

And Lavinia’s protests?

“Heavens, are you mad? Kidnap a lady! This is no peasant girl, remember.”

Because if it had been a peasant girl, then this course of action would be perfectly acceptable, we collect? Wait… has Tracy done this kind of thing to “peasant” girls before?

Ugh, and double ugh.

Almost as ugh as Lavinia’s aspiration to make humble dimity gowns all the rage. Dream bigger, Lavinia!


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

Romantic Intentions Quarterly #4 (January, 2019)

Welcome to 2019!

In this, our fourth issue, we are honored with the presence of Regency Romance phenom Anna Bradley, as well as f/f author Geonn Cannon, whose impressive body of work includes the Urban Fantasy delights of Riley Parra, recently adapted into a multi-nominated webseries.

We also have thoughts on romance novel series that would make good TV series, as well as a look at the real historical figures that so often feature in historical romance. Elsewhere, Janga celebrates her love of beta heroes; Kate Nagy ties together a booklist somewhat inspired by Tom Hardy; and Janet Webb appreciates the hell out of cozy romance author Debbie Macomber.

Additionally, you’ll find our usual hundreds of reviews of films, TV and books, both forthcoming and previously released, and our Reluctant Reviewer tackles ‘Ward Against Death’ by Melanie Card, which he labels as “inoffensive,” so perhaps we’re getting somewhere with him.

Romantically yours,

Rachel xx

Heyer Society contributors Rachel Hyland, Clara Shipman, Maura Tan, Janet Webb, Kate Nagy, Janga and Megan Osmond all feature in this romance-based magazine, filled with reviews, interviews and commentary, out every quarter.

READ IT HERE!

Heyer Society Profile: Clara Shipman

In which we get to know our Heyer Society contributors — and their Heyer cred — a little better…

Name: Clara Shipman
Nationality: American
Heyer Society Essay: “Learning! with Georgette Heyer”

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

I was 14.

2. What was it?

Frederica.

3. How did you discover her work?

As I discuss in my Heyer Society essay, my grandmother encouraged me towards my first Heyer, trying to wean me off my Twilight addiction. It worked, too.

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

Absolutely! I’ve gotten into a lot of “modern Regency”, and I love authors like Anne Gracie and Grace Burrowes and Mary Balogh. I am so honored to be in the same collection as so many Regency authors whose work I have enjoyed, like Cheryl Bolen and Anne Bradley. It’s unbelievable!

5. What is the Heyer book you read most recently?

Pastel. I’d never read the contemporaries, but Maura Tan’s essay in Heyer Society made me seek them out.

Read MoreHeyer Society Profile: Clara Shipman”

QUIZ: Heyer Heroes III

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 7 — Heyer Heroes III

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

Heyer Reviews: Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer, Edmonton Journal

This review of Charity Girl, which shows a singular ignorance of Georgette Heyer’s enormous literary legacy — and, also, that the Victorian era is very distinct from the Regency — is from the Edmonton Journal (16 October 1970):

ICING ON MARSHMALLOW

This one is really a throwback to another era — the reader could well be a gentle Victorian lady immersing herself in a novel of the day.

But Victorian ladies are in rather short supply these times,and i one has to wade through the style and slang of another age, it ought to be for a worthwhile reason.

What the writer has done is to place an intricate and authentic-looking period icing on a base of marshmallows. Well, that may be a little harsh, but the story has about as much substance.

Now, the lighthearted, lightweight novel is a wonderful thing for sheer entertainment value and or whiling away the time. Likewise, some of the best novels are heavy wading in terms of style.

But when dated style, dated topic, featherweight plot and modern reader get together, the result can be maddening.

Georgette Heyer provides the reader with a detailed view of manners, morals, fashions and customs of the English upper class of the horse-and-coach days. It would have been a great dressing for one of those blood-and-guts blockbuster historical novels.

But it’s wasted on a frothy story about a viscount’s troubles, caused by his befriending a girl fleeing her aunt’s cold charity. Granted, the do’s and don’ts of high society were vastly different then, but really.

There are many unfamiliar terms and slang expressions in Charity Girl, but the only kind of four-letter word you’ll find in it is “lady.” No doubt some people are getting tired of the super-realism in speech and detail of novels of recent years, but there is such a thing as going too far in the other direction.

— Jean Koenig

Heyer for Beginners — The Conqueror (1931)

This one feels like a return to the court intrigue stylings of The Great Roxhythe, except it enjoys some key differences which, I think, have kept it in the general readership, if not (as far as I can discern) ranked it among Heyer’s most beloved works.

One difference is the battles, which are furious and exhilarating. Heyer knows her way around a broadsword and medieval military strategy, and the final thrust of the narrative, in which William the Conqueror actually gets to conquering, is first rate.

The Great Roxhythe really suffered from a lack of long bow men, it turns out.

The other main difference is that presumably fictional character of the devoted servant of the king (at first, Duke) here, on Raoul de Harcourt, is given a tender, if bittersweet, romance with the intrepid Elfrida, which Roxhythe really only got to have with his secretary, Christopher.

Read More “Heyer for Beginners — The Conqueror (1931)”

POLL: Best Alastair-Audley Book?

Unlike many writers in the genre today, Georgette Heyer didn’t really go in for series among her historical romance novels. Most stand alone entirely, with the exception of the Alastair-Audley sequence of four books, following the doings of the Alastair clan from Georgian times through to the Battle of Waterloo, and the Audley and Taverner families in the Regency. But which of these four is the best of the bunch, do you think? Vote and let us know! 

Best Alastair/Audley Book?
89 votes

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