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books: lady of quality by georgette heyer
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Okay, so Georgette Heyer has officially become a hit or miss for me in reading--so far, I've hit three of her books that bored me to tears. Which is so depressing.

Still favorites: The Grand Sophy, Cotillion

Lots of fun: Faro's Daughter, Frederica, The Reluctant Widow

Okay but forgettable: The Nonesuch, The Corinthian

WTF: The Convenient Marriage, A Lady of Quality

Current in WTF: A Lady of Quality - holy God was that boring. I mean, it actually caused me physical pain to continue reading, mostly because I wanted to see if the two secondary characters would get married. Which they did not, but I hope they will; they were the only interesting people. Compared to how well she did Frederica, and Sophy was utterly, utterly brilliant a character, not to mention Cotillion's utter amazingness in breaking a lot of tropes regarding the hero in Regency Romance (Freddy: most awesomely practical, down to earth hero in history, and so well dressed while he did it!).

This is frustrating. Argh. I'm trying to nail down the difference besides characters, but I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the plot she shapes around each character. I can't tell which one she starts with in storytelling, but I have to admit, Lady of Quality doesn't irritate me as much as The Convenient Marriage (shudders) but at least that one was interesting.

I'm going to need to find a supplemental author for light reading--aka, anything I can read in under five hours. *sighs* Dammit.

Note: Georgette Heyer's romance novels contain sexism, classism, some racism, and occasional bouts of anti-Semitism in stereotyped fringe characters (I can remember only once, but it was freaking memorable), so readers be aware. It's historically accurate, but for me it was still really jarring and really unpleasant, even if it wasn't more than a couple of pages devoted to the plotline, it stuck with me.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/12836.html. | You can reply here or there. | comments

Hm, if you like fantasy, I can highly recommend PC Hodgell's books, especially now that Baen has released all 5 of them there are so far. Very well-written without being too bogged down. (I can lend you the first couple if you're so inclined.)

I haven't read Lady of Quality (or if I have it was so forgettable that I have no memory of it) but I wonder if what's putting you off is how naive and helpless some of Heyer's younger heroines are. at least for me, the best part of The Grand Sophy and Frederica is how capable and intelligent the heroine is - not superhumanly (well, okay, Sophy is in a category by herself), but very confident in her own abilities. if that is what's irritating you in the WTF books, so long as you avoid the books with really young heroines you should be all right.

you might like The Masqueraders (plot! and cross-dressing!) or Sylvester (the heroine just wants to be left alone to her successful career as a novelist!) better. AVOID AVOID AVOID Charity Girl and Cousin Kate.


AVOID AVOID AVOID Charity Girl and Cousin Kate.

GOD YES.

AND SPRIG MUSLIN. AND APRIL LADY.

Lady of Quality is one of my favorites in that I like Annis and what's-his-name very much (can't remember it offhand and I refuse to go look it up, lol). But I can see what you mean about the cast of dozens that surround them...my god, that family's annoying! Still, it's a sympathetic portrayal of a a couple in what for that time was pratctically their ~declining years, finding a love match; and I truly love how realistic Annis's turmoil over whether or not ~to marry. Just because she loved him didn't mean wanting to turn her life over to him...not something you always find even in contemporary romances.

I like The Reluctant Widow, too-it's amusing, frothy fun. The Grand Sophy is one of her best, in terms of quality of writing, and I do like it very much (despite wanting to smack the guy around a little-she does too good a job of making him seem dictatorial and not enough discussion of WHY he has to be, imo.

Have you read Venetia? I suspect you might find it annoying, too, lol. But I like it. I can't read it too often, because the whole being trapped by your role in society/trapped by your responsibilities to your gawdawful family does wear on me, a bit. I think it would make a fun historical film by the BBC! :D


I don't tend to mind the -isms and -phobias in historical material so much, if it's historically accurate. ~I don't feel that way, and I can read around it for quality of writing, enjoyable characterizations, and interesting plots. But I do see how some people would have a hard time with it.


Hmmm...are you familiar with the
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Lady of Quality is one of my favorites in that I like Annis and what's-his-name very much (can't remember it offhand and I refuse to go look it up, lol). But I can see what you mean about the cast of dozens that surround them...my god, that family's annoying! Still, it's a sympathetic portrayal of a a couple in what for that time was pratctically their ~declining years, finding a love match; and I truly love how realistic Annis's turmoil over whether or not ~to marry. Just because she loved him didn't mean wanting to turn her life over to him...not something you always find even in contemporary romances.

I like The Reluctant Widow, too-it's amusing, frothy fun. The Grand Sophy is one of her best, in terms of quality of writing, and I do like it very much (despite wanting to smack the guy around a little-she does too good a job of making him seem dictatorial and not enough discussion of WHY he has to be, imo.

Have you read Venetia? I suspect you might find it annoying, too, lol. But I like it. I can't read it too often, because the whole being trapped by your role in society/trapped by your responsibilities to your gawdawful family does wear on me, a bit. I think it would make a fun historical film by the BBC! :D


I don't tend to mind the -isms and -phobias in historical material so much, if it's historically accurate. ~I don't feel that way, and I can read around it for quality of writing, enjoyable characterizations, and interesting plots. But I do see how some people would have a hard time with it.


Hmmm...are you familiar with the <lj_user=50bookchallenge>? If not, that's a comm that's been spotlighted in LJ several times over the years-the challenge is to read at least 50 books a year and write up your impressions, etc. It's a good place to find recs. I've also picked up a couple of lj buddies there, too. :D


Have you ever tried Victoria Holt? (She also writes under Eleanor Hibbard and Jean Plaidy, and possibly others...I ~think Elizabeth Peters is one of hers, but I may be wrong about that.)

They're quick historical reads, not quite as mannered as Regencies. My favorites are her first, Mistress of Mellyn; and then Pride of the Peacock, Menfreya in the Morning, and Curse of the Kings.


I like The Reluctant Widow, too-it's amusing, frothy fun. The Grand Sophy is one of her best, in terms of quality of writing, and I do like it very much (despite wanting to smack the guy around a little-she does too good a job of making him seem dictatorial and not enough discussion of WHY he has to be, imo.

The Grand Sophy was ridiculously awesome. It's one of the only, other than Cotillion, that I think the married life of the characters should be written, because in Sophy's case, it will be an adventure and the characters are in such ridiculously passionate love, and in Freddy's, he's just so ridiculously Regency-era common sensical, it's incredible. He's a dandy! He's a Pink! He weaponizes politness and civility. He's the anti of most Regency heroes and I love him so much for being so good at being a gentleman.

Victoria Holt (Anonymous) Expand

see, i really enjoyed Lady of Quality when i read it, but then I think one of the reasons i enjoyed it so much is because it's sort of the *opposite* of Sprig Muslin, where GH sets up a dashing hero and a semi-triangle situation with an older matron everyone expects him to marry, and the frivolous chit who disrupts his life. I read Sprig Muslin first and was convinced that he would end up with the older woman, and when he didn't i felt so betrayed, and GEORGETTE NEVER BETRAYS ME. >:( so when i read LoQ i was really, really happy that it was the flip side of the coin.

Excuse me I will now tell you which GHs you cannot miss:
Have you read Frederica? I LOVE FREDERICA. THERE ARE HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES IN FREDERICA.
I also love, now and forever, Arabella, my first Georgette Heyer, and possibly the book that I will one day say changed my life, because after I read it i immediately started to write romance of my own, constantly and always, and did not stop for a good seven years.
Also The Unknown Ajax, YOU MUST READ IT, especially if you love Freddy <33333333. Hugo, oh, Hugo. :x:x:x
Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle <-- i don't think other people like this book as much as I do, but i am sorry, the heroine writes the hero into her scandalously bestselling novel, and she CASTS HIM AS THE EVIL VILLAIN, i think this is the best premise for a love story ever. <3
I think Venetia probably has the sexiest hero/heroine dynamic GH ever wrote, I love it so much. In very subtle ways I just feel like they want to tear each other's clothes off.
Bath Tangle, omg, Bath Tangle is AMAZING, AND IT IS ALSO HISTORICAL RPF. THE HEROINE, VIVACIOUS ~SERENA~, HAS A RUN-IN WITH PRINNY AND HE TRIES TO HIT ON HER AJKF; AND SHE IS HAVING NONE OF THAT. So great. :DDDDDD
And False Colours, which I think is fandom generally agrees is the slashiest. Brothers and banter, yay.
last but not least, THE MASQUERADERS. fantastic. fantastic. cross-dressing, jacobians, farces, escapes, brothers and sisters pretending to be each other, it is so great.

Also, I know other people love and adore Devil's Cub, but at this point i think i must reread it, or else have not, because i cannot for the life of me remember what it is about.

TL;DR READ MORE GEORGETTE :x:x:x:x:x

Devil's Cub is pretty unforgettable! its one flaw is that it is a sequel to the annoying redheaded French spitfire plotline of These Old Shades. and, uh, also the hero's continual threats to rape the heroine in the first few chapters. but then she shoots him with his own pistol, and wins his heart! (and bosses him around while he is recovering from the gunshot wound, and runs away from him in France, and his speech of "please come back and marry me, I love you, please I will be so good to you - okay, I will try to be good to you, all right, I'm not promising miracles here, I know I'm a jackass, but OH GOD PLEASE I LOVE YOU DON'T LEAVE ME" is a masterpiece of manly groveling. happy feelings every time I read it!)

(Deleted comment)
I need to check her dates, because I have liked the older, more sensible female characters, but Lady of Quality just didn't seem to have enough going on to really get into.

They can be hit & miss for me as well. One I enjoyed was "The Quiet Gentlemen", a mystery with a romance subplot. General plot: The eldest son that nobody liked shows up to claim his inheritance-- alarmingly alive after the war that no one thought he'd come back from (how rude!). Stepmother and her son are rather perturbed. A series of accidents keep happening around the eldest. The female guest thinks they're all drama queens. The comedy is more subtle than the wacky pratfalls of some of her other novels, but I was still charmed.

The selling point for me is that the heroine is always the most sensible, level minded person in the room and that's her appeal. She's not flashy like Sophy (who I also adored), but she's just so mature. The "hero" completely dismisses her when they first meet as both plain and dull, and it's not that she suddenly blooms into a swan but that he learns to appreciate a smart, capable women.

[let me know if you need a copy in html]

Ugh, I hate when that happens. I have a mystery series I've been absolutely devoted to since I was in my early teens. While I adored the first several books, the last four or five have just seemed stilted and preachy. It's so frustrating, because they were my go-to, always look for them in the bookstore to see if there's a new one series for light reading. So, I feel your pain. :(

If you need light reading, I'd recommend, if you haven't yet, Amanda Quick. For Romance, it's not horribly misogynist and while Regency, most of the female characters either have careers or really intense scholarly interests. It's also surprisingly gay-friendly--one heroine was raised by her lesbian aunt and her companion and was involved in a secondary character-romance between two women (there was a plotline around them, but for the life of me, it's been about ten years and I cannot remember the specifics). They're not like, hugely brilliant, but they are fun reading and very quick and fun to read.

I love, LOVE, "These Old Shades." It's the first GH book I ever read, has the classic crossdressing trope and the most fabulous protagonist ever. Granted, this is coming from a memory from my teen years, but I still hold that book close to my heart in memory, because it brought me so much joy! :D

[...] I wanted to see if the two secondary characters would get married.

Me too! For all their protests, Lucilla and Ninian were perfect for each other. Since you didn't like this one, avoid Black Sheep, which has almost exactly the same premise, down to the fact that it's set in Bath, and that the supporting characters are better written and have more chemistry with each other.

My favourite Heyers are much the same as yours: Cotillion and The Grand Sophy, of course, and I also love Devil's Cub, Frederica (sensible and pragmatic heroines, yay!) and Venetia (the hero and heroine have such wonderful chemistry, and flirt with each other using literary quotations).

I have most of the Heyers I mentioned in either .pdf, .lit or .html here, if you're interested...

Re: an author you can read in less than five hours: Patrick O'Brian? He's approximately the same time-period as Heyer, and he shares her fantastic eye for detail and meticulous research into the period. Plus, there's sailing, spying and intrigue galore!

Avoid, and I mean this like the plague, The Infamous Army, where I wanted to spork my brains out because I have never disliked a set of characters more. While you're at it, stay away from Regency Buck, Arabella, Simon the Coldheart, Devils Cub, Charity Girl, and pretty much most of the ones mentioned above.
In recommendations
1) I cannot not second the rec for The Unknown Ajax: Hugo is probably my favourite hero after Freddy. He's such a large precious pet.
2) The Talisman Ring: I love the primary pairing. She is wonderful and practical with a real sense of humour, and a penchant for drama. And the secondary pairing has a youthful charm which isn't unappealing.
3)Sylvester: He has eyebrows, and a mother who writes poetry. She has a governess, and writes scandalous novels. He's a duke with an endearingly kidficcish nephew. She has a matchmaking grandmother. It's actually pretty much terrific.
4) The Masqueraders: Cross-dressing, an efficient woman, and a placidly capable hero. Also possibly the worst but most interesting parent in fiction.
5) Friday's Child: Now I hesitate to rec this one, because I actually don't like the love story in this one. Hero and Sherry annoy the everliving daylights out of me. But the secondary characters are fantastic, and it's worth reading it for them

And finally, I'm not sure if this is a rec or not, because it breaks my heart in parts, but it's a marvellous realistic read, and possibly her most historically accurate of the lot: The Civil Contract.

Have fun.

lol icu pimping Sylvester icu. But Friday' Child...??? I don't know if I know you anymore DDDD:

Totally seconding the recs for The Masqueraders, Frederica, and Venetia, and most especially for Sylvester, Or: the Wicked Uncle, because Phoebe is a very believable and loveable character and the scandal that forms the main plot is so much like an epic fannish wank, it's hilarious. Also, for some reason that book has lots of really random double entendres like, "You must let me mount you while you are in town," which is its own kind of amusement.

Another book to stay away from: Powder and Patch.

Ah, the scene with the moneylender. Good times. I read a lot of historical fiction growing up and that was a common theme.

I'm finding all these AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE recs really interesting because some of those I loved me long time when I was a teenager. I was going to say something about how, as a teenager I loved the scenes of Melodrama! and Passion! but *shrug* I'm a slasher now.

Sylvester and Simon the Coldheart totally did it for me because they were both very controlled, even repressed characters who get all confused and wrought and act impulsively and dramatically.

My top five then - because making lists was very important! - These Old Shades, Fredrica, The Grand Sophy, Sylvester and Arabella.

The one in The Grand Sophy? It was so jarring; her other books hadn't had anything like that and it threw me hard. If that's the one you're talking about, I love the fact you knew exactly which one I was talking about.

The weird thing is--and this is just because I was raised in Texas and rural so in our area I wasn't exposed to anti-Semitism (anti-Mexican immigrants and African American, yes)--it took me a couple of confused reads to recognize it as a stereotype of a Jewish moneylender (I caught the racism, but not that the particular description/plotline was a common racist stereotype). Other than when I was studying WWII and Nazi propaganda, I've never read anything like that before. It was really--I mean, I kind of want to just cut that entire scene out altogether, because otherwise, the book is just so amazing.

I actually loved a lot of the ones you didn't like - and the ones anti-recced - but I second the anti-recs, because I can tell what you didn't like about the books you didn't and the anti-reccers are right. These books also have the things you didn't like.

If that makes sense...

Ha is The Convenient Marriage the one with the baby heroine who lisps? For some reason, I remember thinking the book was super weird and annoying at first, and then all of a sudden loving it. Like, initially I thought the hero was a pedo and the girl was nuts, and then all of a sudden I thought the heroine was really funny and the hero was charming. That was a weird one.

"These Old Shades" is my comfort-read of choice, though the outrageousness of "Powder and Patch" never ceases to amuse. My all time fave tho, of all of them, is "Venetia" with its fabulously jaded hero and a blithely efficient heroine who, when she thinks he might be off screwing 'paphians', beards him in his den with the immortal words "if you're going to strew rose petals for anyone, strew them for me!".