Considered queen of the Regency romance, Georgette Heyer is one of the most beloved historical novelists of our time. As Hodge states in the Foreword of her biography: ” She gave her name to a recognisable genre of fiction”.
(From Hodges’ Foreword) “From none of the 51 titles in print when she died would you guess (Heyer) spent the early years of her married life (to Ronald Rougier) in rough camps first in Tanganyika then in Macedonia. But she recognised this for experience she could not use. No heroine of hers would ever sit in a grass hut writing a novel”.
“A best seller all her life without the aid of publicity, Heyer never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself it they had made an interesting historical point.”
The biographer had access to private papers, correspondence and family archives. Hodge details the research Heyer applied to her period and the skill and craft that went into her characters. Yet for most of her career, she was dismissed as a light romantic.
Hodge’s overriding theme is well expressed, I think, in this observation: ” If anyone could make the romantic novel respectable it should have been G. Heyer, unacknowledged moralist and stylist extraordinary. It did not happen in her lifetime and she minded, silently .. (yet) .. She gave an immense amount of pleasure to all kinds of people, and must have known she did.”
More posts soon as Mawson’s Guardian (and the Teddettes) explore the regency world of Georgette Heyer.