Thursday, 10 June 2010

Reading Experiment 1 - Georgette Heyer - The Verdict

The verdict is in!! I can now officially say that I have read my first Georgette Heyer novel. I can also officially announce that unless held at gun point this will be the last Georgette Heyer novel I will ever read. The three words that immediately come to mind are 'Mills and Boon'. Sure, Venetia is set in the English regency period, but other than that it reads like a Harlequin romance. Of course, in saying this I am admiting to having read such a book, but I was 15 at the time and I haven't picked one up since.

If I had to put my finger on some of the main problems I had with the book I'd have to start with the shallowness of the characters. I really struggled with their one dimensionality. The book also rests heavily on the witty repartee between Venetia and Dameral, but their constant verbal to-ing and fro-ing increasingly annoyed me. The death knell was in the romance itself. I don't know if I missed something, but I honestly didn't believe the two main characters were in love. It was all too frivolous. This may be palatable to a large portion of the global population and I give them leave to enjoy Heyer's novels, each to their own and all that, but they don't do anything for me.

Whilst this hasn't been a particularly positive reading experiment, I am determined to continue, so any suggestions about where I might test the waters next would be appreciated.


  1. I have to admit that I have never got on with them either - far to "sweet" although there has been quite a renaissance in the UK

  2. I haven't read any by this author so i don't have a basis to comment about this book. I will say that each genre has a lot of good authors and a lot of not as good authors and lots of book sales don't always been that a book is good.

  3. Well now I'm not saying they are particularly enthralling or literary classics but the odd novel from the 1930s are a bit of mild escapism. I must say that sometimes when I was in retailing and call centres, I was left craving for a time of good manners and seemly conduct and a light read of Heyer before bed was what the doctor ordered.
    I am certainly no expert but in my opinion her earliest novels are very different from her later work. Which makes sense really, we all change as we grow older and our experiences must come into play. Perhaps one could argue too that with such prolific writing the stories were bound to run out of to speak. While I wouldn't pay full price for a GH I will happily pay $2 at a second hand shop when I have run out of something to read and don't know what I am in the mood for.

  4. Thanks for your comments Tanya. I must admit that I have also heard that Heyer's earlier books are quite different from her later books. Maybe saying "I would never read a book of her's again" is too strong. I'll give it a few years and then delve into one of her earlier works. She also wrote a few crime novels that may be entirely different again. I also have to agree with your comment about prolific writers running out of steam. James Patterson is a modern author who I'd have to put in this category along with the likes of Danielle Steel.

  5. I abhor the M&B variety too but Georgette Heyer? I have to confess that I have a soft spot for her... She's given me so many giggles over the years - not the story, not the characters, but just what she does with the language! Those dry comments will do it for me every time...


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