I’ve been a big fan of historical-romances since high school. From cowboys to pirates, I’ve salivated over all these alpha-male heroes and ogled aplenty on the covers–Fabio and his muscled arms wrapped around a well-endowed random female model (throughout the 80s and 90s Fabio Lanzoni was all the rage and probably the only model used for historical-romance book covers).
For a while I was obsessed with Western romances. It was fascinating to read about Native Americans, rough riding cowboys, farm life, and cattle ranches. You’d wonder how in the world did these people find the time to go “hanky-panky”, while juggling problems like an escaped prisoner and train robbers.
Eventually, while looking for new authors to read, I stumbled across an author, whom I’ve never heard before. Her name was Georgette Heyer. Fortunately, I found a copy of Powder and Patch by said author in a secondhand bookstore, and decided–recklessly, if I might add–to buy it, though it was beyond my budget.
I was blown away on the first paragraph. She sounded too much like Jane Austen, but she had her own voice–a sarcastic, funny one. She had style, grace, elegance–factors I hardly found in the previous historical romances I read. With a little bit of Google search, I learned Georgette Heyer wasn’t just some author who lived from the 1890s to the 1970s and wrote 50-something books all through her career as a prolific writer.
Georgette Heyer founded the historical-romance genre and its subgenre, Regency romance.
She’s one of the best and many other authors know it. Barbara Cartland, a well-known historical-romance author, has been accused of plagiarizing Georgette Heyer’s works; and she’s not the only one.
If you love the historical-romance genre, particularly the Regency romance subgenre, take some time to check her books out. You may just find a book you would want to read over and over again.
Title: Devil’s Cub
Goodreads rating: 4.21/5
Summary: Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal and fiery son of the notorious Duke of Avon, has established a rakish reputation that rivals his father’s, living a life of excess and indulgence. He is a bad lot a rake and seducer, reckless, heedless, and possessed of a murderous temper. He is known by friend and foe alike as the “Devil’s Cub.” Yet as the handsome and wealthy heir to a Dukedom, he is considered a good prospect on the marriage market. Vidal currently has his eye on the young, lovely, and unintelligent Sophia Challoner, and Sophia’s greedy mother is more than happy to encourage his dubious attentions. Banished to the Continent after wounding his opponent in a duel, Vidal decides to abduct the silly aristocrat bent on seducing him into marriage and make her his mistress instead. In his rush, however, he seems to have taken the wrong woman?
Intelligent, practical Mary Challoner knew wicked Vidal, wouldn’t marry her sister, despite her mother’s matchmaking schemes. So Mary coolly prepared to protect her naive sister by deceiving Vidal. Substituting herself for her young sister, she certainly hadn’t expected the nobleman to kidnap and take her to France. She had little notion he would grimly hold her to her part of the bargain. Now he had left her, and she was alone, a stranger in a strange land, prey to the intrigues of glittering, heartless, 18th century Paris. Only one person could rescue her–the Marquis himself. But how could she ever trust this man? How could she even hope to overcome the contempt in which he held her? And how could even the sudden flowering of her love ever bridge the terrible gap between them?
Title: Sylvester (or the Wicked Uncle)
Goodreads rating: 4.11/5
Summary: When the news went out that Sylvester Rayne, the elegant, impeccable Duke of Salford, was seeking a wife, all England was aflutter! Lord Sylvester is a polished bachelor who has stringent requirements for his future wife — she must be well-born, intelligent, elegant and attractive. And of course she must be able to present herself well in high society. But when he is encouraged to consider Phoebe Marlow as a bride, Sylvester is taken aback by the coltish woman who seems to resent him…
The first time Sylvester met Phoebe, he found her dull and insipid. Phoebe, was a hoydenish country miss with literary aspirations. And when she was snubbed by the Duke, and she thought he was insufferably arrogant. In fact, she deemed him the most arrogant rake she’d ever met. In secret, she’d fashioned the villain and a knave in her romance novel unmistakably after Sylvester!
Phoebe meets none of Duke’s criteria for a fiancee. But when Phoebe ran away, she got his attention and fancy. Intrigued Sylvester decides that if Petruchio could tame Katherine, he had no doubt he could tame Phoebe. And when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and they begin to discover a new-found liking and respect for each other, and they find striking up an unusual friendship.
Phoebe discovers that the duke isn’t the villian she first thought. And Sylvester stumbles upon something he never dared hope for… But what Sylvester doesn’t know is that Phoebe has just published a novel – a novel in which all London will recognize him. But how could she guess her book would be a scandalous success? Or that the man she had cast as a villain would become the heartbreaking hero of her dreams?
Goodreads rating: 4.05/5
Summary: Almost an heiress
Country-bred, spirited Kitty Charing is on the brink of inheriting a fortune from her eccentric guardian — provided that she marries one of his grand-nephews. Kitty has spent her secluded life pining for the handsome, rakish Jack, who is well aware of her attachment.
A plan of her own
But when Jack fails to respond to his great-uncle’s ultimatum, Kitty hatches a strategy of her own–a counterfeit betrothal to mild–mannered Freddy Standen (who neither needs nor wants the money).
A most unlikely hero
And when Kitty’s generous heart leads to all sorts of unintended troubles, there is only one man who can rescue her from more than one dreadful fix, pick up the pieces of her plotting and in the process her heart…
“Thus begins Cotillion, arguably the funniest, most charming of Georgette Heyer’s many delightful Regency romances.” — Amazon.co.uk
“Sparkling”–Independent on Sunday
“A literary bubble bath…Take a delightful and frothy dip among the gayer aspects of the author’s favorite and well worked Regency period.”–Sunday Tribune
Goodreads rating: 4.1/5
Summary: Twenty-five-year-old Venetia Lanyon’s beauty is rivaled only by her sensibility. Intelligent and independent, her future seems safe and predictable. Lovely Venetia despairs of ever meeting the handsome hero of her romantic dreams but is nearly resigned to spinsterhood, thanks to the enormous amount of responsibility she inherited with a Yorkshire estate and an invalid but precocious brother, Aubrey. She lives in comfortable seclusion in rural Yorkshire, she has never been further than Harrogate, nor enjoyed the lackluster attentions of any but her two wearisomely persistent suitors. She can not accept to marry the respectable but dull Edward Yardley – she will only marry for love.
Then her long-absent neighbor, thirty-eight-year-old Lord Jasper Damerel, returns home to Yorkshire. In one extraordinary encounter, she meets the infamous neighbor, who she knows only by reputation – a gamester, a shocking rake, and a man of sadly unsteady character – and before she knows better, she finds friendship with a libertine whose way of life has scandalised the North Riding for years. Lord Damerel finds Venetia to be the most truly engaging and wittily perverse female he has encountered in all his life and determined to woo and win her, he pursues her with a passionate abandon that is soon the talk of the ton. And after her encounter with the dashing, dangerous rake, Venetia’s well-ordered life is turned upside down, and she embarks upon a courtship with him that scandalises and horrifies the whole community.
But Venetia has no intention of losing her heart to the rakish lord until she is sure that beneath his swashbuckling ways and shocking manners lies a tender heart belonging to her. And Lord Damerel would marry her in a heartbeat if he did not think it would ruin her. Then she discovers a shocking family secret that changes everything … It was therefore particularly provoking to find that occasion, Lord Damerel could make up his mind to be idiotically noble….