As a long standing fan of Georgette Heyer, I am delighted to see that her books are now being republished in the USA and in beautiful editions by Source Books Inc They were kind enough to send me a selection which I fell upon with glee and in the last week have read two of them, both for the umpteenth time but with no diminution of enjoyment.
These two books are very similar and, in fact, have more or less the same plot and characters. This has been commented on before so it is not exactly an earth shattering discovery by me, but despite this, I like both these titles, Lady of Quality and The Black Sheep very much. They are in her later canon of work and there are times when she overdoes the Regency expressions a little, she tended to do this as she got older, but they are still witty and written with such style that I found myself not wanting to put them down as I became immersed in the action, even though, as I have already said, they are very familiar to me.
Both stories are set in Bath. They both feature heroines who, according to the mores of the time, are at 'their last prayers'. In Lady of Quality, Annis Wychwood is 29, in The Black Sheep, Abigail Wendover is 28. They are both living independently, much to the disapproval of their respective brothers, Annis with an extremely garrulous and irritating companion foisted upon her by the aforementioned brother, and Abigail with her sister and young niece to whom she is guardian.
Georgette Heyer categorised her heroes as Model No 1 – ‘suave, well dressed, rich and a famous whip’ or Model No 2 – ‘a brusque savage sort with a foul temper. He is very rich but has not the slightest wish to cut a dash' Both Miles Calverly (the Black Sheep of his family) and Oliver Carleton (Lady of Quality)definitely fall into the No 2 category and on the face of it are totally ineligible from a husband point of view. However, the one thing they have in common which both Annis and Abigail fall for, is their charm, glinting smile and, quite frankly, their overwhelming masculinity which is very alluring to ladies who have had to make decisions and look after themselves and dependents all their lives.
As these are by Georgette Heyer we know that the hero will sweep the heroine in his arms and ride off with her into the sunset, never any doubt at all, but the path to this eventual happy ending is full of pitfalls and objections from the family, and doubts and worry. But, both stories arrive at a very satisfactory conclusion and I thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with these novels.
As I have already mentioned, these editions are published in the USA only and by SourceBooks, Inc but are worth getting hold of because of their simply lovely covers and the quality of the paper and print which attracted me very much.
Difficult to explain just why I love Heyer so much. I first started reading her as a young teenager, fell in love with her books, and have remained so ever since. I have left them for years and read widely and in differing styles and settings, but there always comes a time when only a Heyer will do for me.