In which we get to know our Patronesses a little better…
Name: Rachel Hyland
Chosen Patroness: Countess Lieven
How old were you when you read your first Georgette Heyer novel?
I was 11.
What was it?
The Convenient Marriage.
How did you discover her work?
At my mother’s insistence, after I bugged her to take me to the library for something new to read. (Though she soon came to rue the day…)
Did Heyer lead you to read other authors in similar genres?
As an adolescent and teen I would read anything remotely set in the Georgian or Regency period, which led me to a love of — I’m sorry, but I can’t help it — Barbara Cartland. Trad Regency authors the likes of Clare Darcy, Judith A. Lansdowne, Joan Wolf, Carla Kelly, Mary Balogh and the like continue to appeal, and even now, a day without a dose of Regency romance is a day wasted, as far as I am concerned.
Which of her books have you read the most often?
My favourites — though this changes often — are Venetia, Frederica and Cotillion, so probably those three, but there are at least twenty Heyer novels that I have read upwards of one hundred times each, at the very least. Actually, I may have read Simon the Coldheart even more than that. It is great book.
Which, if any, would you never read again?
Show me the person who would willingly reread Royal Escape and I will show you a person who… is definitely not me. Ditto Cousin Kate.
If you could be a Heyer heroine, which would you choose?
Lady Barbara Childe’s independent lifestyle appeals to me… well, except for the caught-up-in-a-war part. Annis Wychwood, also. Really, anyone without a guardian or dependents. Maybe Ancilla?
Which Heyer hero (or heroine) would make the best husband/wife/partner?
Freddy Standen is the sweetest, but anyone who doesn’t care for the British Museum is not the one for me. Maybe Alverstoke, for his humour, or Sir Waldo, for his kindness. And I’d wed Venetia in a heartbeat, obviously.
How has Georgete Heyer influenced your life?
In so, so many ways, it is almost impossible to count them all. I’m a Patroness of the International Heyer Society, for a start…
Rachel Hyland is the author of the Reading Heyer series and A is for Almack’s and is the editor of Heyer Society — Essays on the Literary Genius of Georgette Heyer. She lives in Melbourne with way too many Little Golden Books.