In 1998, almost fifteen years after I fell in love with reading romance novels, I discovered Georgette Heyer. I’d heard of her, of course. Many of my favorite romance authors claimed Heyer as an influence and inspiration.
I became addicted to her Georgian and Regency romance novels (I tried the historicals and thrillers, but they just didn’t have the same appeal), and in the pre-Amazon era this required searching used bookstores for old paperbacks. I went to the libraries all over the county and read the handful they had in hardback and large print. Most of her books were out of print and impossible to find.
That same year my mother and I went to England to visit my grandmother who was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mom and I made it our mission to visit every used book shop we came across and search for the Heyer books missing from my collection. Within ten days, we had collected all but one. Somewhere along the way, my mother became a fan. After my grandmother died a year later, my mother found a very early bound edition of Cotillion among her things. Three generations of Heyer lovers.
This year, I found the book that eluded me, Faro’s Daughter, on Amazon. It’s become a favorite. Most of her books are now on Amazon, new and used, ebook and paperback. You no longer have to dig through used bookstores here and overseas — more’s the pity.
Over the years I’ve read and reread her books so many times I could quote passages and witty repartee from memory. My list of favorites include: Venetia, Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle (I’ve never laughed so hard—the secondary characters are perfectly atrocious), The Grand Sophy, Devil’s Cub, and Cotillion.
If you’ve never read Georgette Heyer, give her a try. Everyone has their favorites, but they’re like mixed nuts—you may prefer macadamia to pistachio, peanut to walnut, but before you know it you’ll have eaten every nut in the jar and be wishing for more.