She was born August 16, 1902 in Wimbledon, England and published her first novel at the age of 19.
Although she is mostly known for her Regency novels, she also wrote several Georgian period novels, one biography of William the Conqueror, one set during the reign of Charles II, four Post-World War I novels (contemporary to her life), one collection of short stories, and eleven mysteries.
As I said, though, she is probably best known for her Regency period novels -- the Comedy of Manners-type works, and witty romances. I do appreciate and enjoy Jane Austen, but while Jane Austen wrote about the time in which she was living, Heyer wrote from in-depth research and her love of the period; and it shows. She is appreciated for the interesting wit, humor and absurdities of her characters, her twisting plots, colorful use of Regency cant and her knowledge of the customs, culture, political landscape and class distinctions of the period.
I have been a huge fan of Heyer since about 1980. I had obtained a few of her books over the years, but in 2005 seriously started building a collection of her work, mostly buying from Ebay and Amazon, but also making finds at flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales. I almost have a complete collection. Of her 55 books I have at least one copy, and sometimes more, of 53 of them. This is a pretty good website for anyone who likes Heyer. It is appropriate that my first featured author be Heyer because of the many shelves in my house filled with her books. I am also a member of an online Georgette Heyer book discussion group.
Georgette's grandfather was Russian, and the name "Heyer" was originally pronounced, as most people pronounce it today, as "high-er". But during World War I the family changedthe pronunciation to sound lessGerman and it was pronounced to sound like "hair". Georgette herself pronounced it that way. But it is very hard for me to do so. I didn't know about the war-years' pronunciation change when I first became a fan, so when I found out that she herself pronounced it to rhyme with "fair" I tried to do so. But it automatically comes to my mind or out of my mouth as rhyming with "flyer". I'm trying, though.
Georgette was the eldest of three children. Her brothers were Boris and Frank. Her father, George Heyer, was a teacher at King's College School. Coming soon will be a review of her first book, THE BLACK MOTH.
Patricia Veryan is another one of my favorites; I place her beside Heyer, neither above nor below. She has her own unique style for writing Georgian and Regency period novels. I have also started a collection of her books and will be talking about them in the future.
Clare Darcy is the only modern author of the Regency Novel that I would put directly below Heyer and Veryan. Most, and I do mean MOST, modern writers of Regency romance do not know the period well at all. They get too many things wrong and most of the books read as if they have been thrown together. Once in a while I come across one that is pretty good, and when I do I will share it here. A trend of modern Regency authors that I truly do not like is putting in graphic scenes depicting sexual encounters. It is unnecessary. Neither Heyer, nor Veryan, nor Darcy had to do so to tell warm, romantic, funny love stories.
I will definitely be writing a lot about Heyer and her books. I hope I have some readers out there who will enjoy it, and I'd like to hear from you, even if you don't know or care for Heyer, or if you don't agree with anything I've said. Here are some other websites readers may find interesting:
Note* On this past Saturday, October 12, 2007, I got a copy of Pastel that I won on Ebay, so now I have at least one copy of all but one of her books.Georgette Heyer, Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy