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Author Recommendation: Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer invented the Regency romance genre. Witty comedies of manners set in the upper echelons of English society, inspired by Jane Austen. She had to do a lot of research to give readers a feel for the period, and created a world that was extended and copied by others.

An Infamous Army has a depiction of the Battle of Waterloo so accurate that it is recommended reading at Sandhurst, the school for British army officers. That is one reason I don’t reread it much. I am far more often in a mood to read something light and funny, rather than an intense battle.

Some of the funniest ones, to my sense of humor are The Talisman Ring, The Grand Sophy, The Unknown Ajax, False Colours and Frederica.

Only about half of her books are set in the actual Regency period (1811-1820). Some are set in the Georgian period (1746-1800), a few in earlier periods, and a dozen classic mysteries.

I am pretty sure that the first Georgette Heyer book I read was The Masqueraders. I was home sick, so I picked it up because I wanted something new to read. It is set in the Georgian period, and features two siblings who have grown up with a father who is a remarkable con man, and are masquerading as the opposite gender.  It had dramatic bits and funny bits and I was hooked. The first of her regency romances that I read was either Arabella – where a clergyman’s daughter on her way to London for the Season is mistakenly viewed as an heiress – or Friday’s Child, where the hero, upon being jilted, vows to marry the first girl he sees, who turns out to be a childhood friend. Both then lead to adventures and misadventures in London society. In either case, I promptly picked up the other and proceeded to borrow all that the library had, and buy any that the local bookstore had in paperback.

Most of her books are still in print, and also available from the library and on Overdrive, Hoopla and Freading.

Shana Rosenfield

Adult Services-Will Branch