POLL: Favorite Heyer Military Hero — Round 3, Historical Personages

Many of Georgette Heyer’s heroes are military men, which makes sense, given that soldiering of various kinds was one of few honorable careers open to gentlemen of the upper classes, with which her work most usually deals. Here we are at Round 3, as we look at some of the real life heroes on whom Heyer based some of her most exhilarating tales…

Vote and let us know what you think! 

Favourite Heyer Military Hero? Round 3, Historical Figures
40 votes

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter X

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.

ALL CHAPTERS

CHAPTER X: LADY O’HARA RETIRES

You may recall that our Jack has been in an agony of mind over allowing Miles to see him in his misbegotten, criminal state, worrying that his friend would refuse to acknowledge him after all that (allegedly) occurred six years earlier. Indeed, he seemed more concerned about being held in contempt for the cheating at cards incident than he was about being hung by his neck until dead – a common punishment for highwaymen at the time. Weird priorities, huh?

Happily for him, however, Sir Miles is beyond delighted to be reunited with his old buddy, card cheating or no, and the two are soon joking around like guys in a college reunion film, but with perhaps a few more “ye”s in place of “you”s. It takes Molly an unconscionably long time to register that her husband and his captive were previously acquainted – adorable, she may be, but quick-witted, not so much – and it is at this point that she eventually retires (as promised in the chapter title).

Jack and Miles share some frank mantalk, discuss the fact that Lavinia never loved brother Richard (no, duh) and profess their undying devotion to one another – although Jack refuses to tell of the fateful night at Dare’s card party that got him exiled from all he held dear, which kind of hurts Miles’s feelings. Then… dammit. More discussion of the awesomeness of Jenny the Wonder Horse?

Dear God!

THOUGHTS

Seriously, enough with the horse.


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

“Heyer Films: Mythconceptions” by Jennifer Kloester

Featured on her website, renowned Heyer expert Jennifer Kloester often posts interesting tidbits of knowledge about her special subject. In this post, she discussed the idea that, following the 1949 film adaptation of The Reluctant Widow, Heyer no longer wished to see her work on screen:

Why are some myths so persistent? An idea takes hold and even though it’s false it can live on in people’s minds for years. Somebody once said that Georgette Heyer never wanted her books made into films. People cite the awful 1949 film of her novel, The Reluctant Widow, as the reason. They also believe she left instructions in her will forbidding her descendants from selling film rights to her books. BUT IT’S NOT TRUE. As Georgette herself would say, it’s a bag of moonshine, a bouncer, a hum.

Absolutely fascinating.

READ IT HERE!

QUIZ: Heyer Secondary Heroes

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 11 — Heyer Secondary Heroes

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 Military Hero — Round 2, Regency

Many of Georgette Heyer’s heroes are military men, which makes sense, given that soldiering of various kinds was one of few honorable careers open to gentlemen of the upper classes, with which her work most usually deals. Here we are at Round 2, as we seek to determine the best of the bunch…

Vote and let us know what you think! 

Favourite Heyer Military Hero? Round 2, Regency
64 votes

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter IX

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.

ALL CHAPTERS

CHAPTER IX: LADY O’HARA INTERVENES

The next morning sees Sir Miles at home with his bride, described variously as “pretty,” “birdlike” and like an “inquisitive kitten.” Her large husband – oh, yes; Sir Miles is a veritable giant, it seems – refers to her “five feet nothing” self as “the Midget.”

Sir Miles, by the way, is Irish. And it be a strong accent he be havin’, begorrah, leprechauns and Guinness, t’be sure. 

After a surly start to the day, the already adorable Lady O’Hara becomes more so by teasing out of her husband the story of his highwayman encounter of the evening before. When he comes to the part about the “white hands,” she is overcome. A gentleman-highwayman! She is sure that her husband had to have let the man go!

But, nope. This Sir Miles is not the sort to do such a thing, no matter how white the hands of his captive. His lady is quite put out with this intransigence; even more so upon meeting her new romantic fancy when he saves her from a tumble down the stairs. (Wow! Is there anything Jack can’t do?) And so, just as Jack has been unmasked before his former best-friend, leaving a tense silence behind, Lady O’Hara – Molly, by name – trips into the room and gushes “Oh, Henry!” Pretending that he is her cousin, you see? And that all of this was just a silly misunderstanding; a prank, a jest, a lark!

The jailors who had until then had Jack in custody are thus dismissed. And now Sir Miles turns to look at the man in question…

THOUGHTS

Is there nothing white hands cannot do? They can even make a guy kind of hot to any woman who hears about him. So much so that she may very well go ahead and risk her husband’s wrath to free him from a very deserved fate. (Molly didn’t really think Sir Miles was going to buy that “my cousin Harry” crap, surely?)

Ludicrous! But probably no different to having white other things in modern times, now that I think about it. Way to be woke, Georgette Heyer!

Now, this whole Justice of the Peace thing, because as far as the modern, workaday world is concerned, a JP is often just someone to whom we turn to rubber stamp official documents when filling out an insurance claim—often leading them to be confused with the notary publics found at most any UPS Store.

A little background: The concept of a Justice of the Peace came about with King Richard the Lionheart, who appointed knights as keepers of his laws throughout England. (And yet… Robin Hood!) By Georgian times, the role was basically given to the local squire of a country area, who would go ahead and decide on the probable guilt and innocence of evildoers in his precinct, before sending them on to be tried in a more formal way. A judge, but without any form of official legal training; basically an amateur whose wealth or prestige in the area got him the gig.

Funnily enough, some places still use JPs in a similar capacity to this, although mostly? They just rubber stamp official documents. And occasionally marry people.

To conclude, I would like to make mention—just in passing, if you will indulge me—of the all-encompassing wonderfulness of Jenny, my lord Jack’s awesomest of all the awesome highwayman-enabling awesome horses. Because I am sick of hearing about it. The past two chapters had first Jack, then a random hotel ostler, then Miles, waxing obsessive over the creature. Okay, we get it. As horses go, she’s well trained and… yeah, that’s about it. But she’s basically the pre-Henry Ford equivalent of a tricked-out car, and there is nothing more boring to me than a hero going on and on about his ride. Especially when he actually rides it.

But does more anthropomorphized equine devotion follow? Does Miles flip out over Jack’s disgrace and Molly’s attempted deception? And just how are Tracy’s plans to abduct and rape Diana going, anyway? Let’s make for Chapter X, where we will hopefully find out…


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

Reading Heyer: The Black Moth (2018) by Rachel Hyland

Literary criticism has never been so hilarious! Here, historical romance maven Rachel Hyland explores the great Georgette Heyer’s seminal masterwork The Black Moth, taking a chapter-by-chapter look at the book’s genius, along with an unflinching analysis of its problems and prejudices. A must for any Heyer fan!

“I howled in laughter while reading this, and it reminded me why I love this genre in general so much. Begad, it’s good.”
— Megan Frampton, best-selling author of Lady Be Bad

“All the fun of discussing a favorite book with someone who loves it just as much as you do, but who is so much funnier than you are as well.”
— Clara Shipman, Heyer Society

READ IT HERE!

QUIZ: Heyer Heroes VI

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 10 — Heyer Heroes VI

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 Military Hero — Round 1, Pre-Regency

Many of Georgette Heyer’s heroes are military men, which makes sense, given that soldiering of various kinds was one of few honorable careers open to gentlemen of the upper classes, with which her work most usually deals. Today, we kick off four weeks of determining the best of the bunch…

Vote and let us know! 

Favourite Heyer Military Hero? Round 1, Pre-Regency
55 votes

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Reading Heyer: The Black Moth: Chapter VIII

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.

ALL CHAPTERS

CHAPTER VIII: THE BITER BIT

Jack, old buddy, old friend, old pal, nice to see you! It is also lovely to hear of how you spent your winter, all gallant and good-hearted and smooth criminal cool. You see, folks, our Jack may be a highwayman, may even steal stuff pretty much for the fun of it (since, as we know, he has inherited an enormous fortune from his father, the late and sadly unlamented Earl of Wyncham), but at least he has the grace not to take stuff from ladies and old men. Also, how cute is it that he challenged some dude to a duel over his valuables, and even though Jack was the victor, he was so good as to even let the guy keep some of his own things!?

Now, isn’t that nice? Our Jack’s practically a saint.

Along with the, by now seemingly obligatory, apologia for Jack’s chosen profession, we also learn a little of his backstory here, a rundown of exactly how he spent his time after first being exiled from his homeland due to the horrendous faux pas of cheating at cards. He has not been a Georgian-era carjacker the whole time, you know. In fact, at first he taught fencing in Paris, before heading to Italy and becoming a professional gambler—this, despite his notorious ill-luck at such things. It was during this period that he met the faithful Jim (remember Jim, Jack’s manservant? Admittedly, we haven’t seen him for a while), who “guarded the winnings jealously,” ensuring that the two wouldn’t starve.

Finally, after an unspecified time, all this Continental giddiness began to pall, and Jack felt a longing for England that brought him back into the vicinity of our story, although naturally he could not simply settle down somewhere, living incognito, being too well-known. (Really? And yet the Duke of Andover can hang out in Bath and go by Mr. Everard? Really?) So, naturally: highwayman! It’s the only course of action that made sense.

Our hero’s musings on his checkered career are interrupted at this juncture by the rattling of coach wheels. He pulls his whole “stand and deliver” routine, only to be caught with an unloaded pistol (damn you, Jim!) and suspiciously white hands for such a scoundrel. The man he held up, meanwhile? His old, and one-time best-friend – aside, apparently, from that dick, Dick – Sir Miles O’Hara. With a cheery brogue and a discerning eye, Sir Miles captures the toothless Jack without a fight, and Jack enjoys a little chuckle at the idea of him, an Earl, being tried before his friend, the Justice of the Peace. After, that is, he has this whole crisis of conscience thing over being “nothing but a common highwayman.”

Ah. So, at last, he admits it!

THOUGHTS

“White hands.” That is what we are here to discuss today. Jack’s “white hands,” that gave him away as a gentleman, and thus led Sir Miles to instruct his flunkies not to cuff the dangerous ruffian who had dared hold up his coach.

Okay, I get it. To have white hands was to never have worked a day in your life, and to have been able to afford such a luxury item as a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the sun. To have manicured nails was to have servants to do such things as manicure your nails for you, and leisure time in which to have this service performed on your person. And to have all of those things be true of you most probably meant that you were of respectable, perhaps even noble, birth—especially in a society with, at the time, no middle class.

But… come on! You’ve got this guy, who holds you up at gunpoint. Never mind that the gun isn’t loaded. Never mind that he seems strangely familiar. It’s dark, he’s masked, has a gun, and plots to steal your belongings. You’re understandably put out, are not a fan of this guy at all. And then you take a look at his hands. My, those are nice hands! you think.

I mean, what about the guys who turned highwayman because their families were starving, and not because they were bored of traveling through Europe with their servants living a life of professional debauchery? Would any of them have received the same courtesy?

Talk about racial profiling.

Let’s hope there’s less of that in Chapter IX. But, no, probably not.


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