In which we get to know our Heyer Society contributors — and their Heyer cred — a little better…
Name: Susannah Fullerton
Heyer Society Essay: “A Most Excellent Influence — Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen”
1. How old were you when you read your first Georgette Heyer novel?
I think I read my first GH at about the age of 12.
2. What was it?
3. How did you discover her work?
I was staying with a relative and got sick, so had to spend a day in bed, and she handed me Arabella. I enjoyed it, but was perhaps still too young as I did not rush off to find more from my relative’s bookshelves.
Then as a teenager I read many — picking some up in second hand bookstores or at libraries. I liked them, but did not fall in love with them, and after a while I moved on to other authors and felt I had outgrown Heyer’s novels.
How wrong I was! My friend Amanda Jones, a co-contributor to the new volume, lent me an audio version of Frederica, and I fell in love — with Alverstoke, Frederica, with the language and humour. Gradually I found all of them on audio and listened to them with such joy. I often listen again, and laugh out loud so frequently.
4. Did Heyer lead you to read other authors in similar genres?
Of course her books led me to try other Regency romances, but nobody can match Georgette Heyer in that genre. My favourite novelist ever is Jane Austen, and Heyer is her best imitator. She is not the utterly brilliant genius that Jane Austen was, but what she does, she does superbly, and her novels have given me enormous pleasure over the last fifteen years.
5. What is the Heyer book you read most recently?
My most recent listen was Charity Girl, which is one of Heyer’s poorest books, but even that has many merits and good characters. I just feel she doesn’t give Hetta and Desford enough time together.