The Private World of Georgette Heyer

Written by Jane Aiken Hodge
Review by Viviane Crystal

Georgette Heyer loved to write about class, the relationships between men and women, appealing fiends, morals of the Regency era, and comedies of manners. Surprisingly, she was born into a family of modest means and nurtured by a father who treated her more like a companion than a daughter. His openness to education enabled her to read anything she wished, developing a lifelong curiosity about fiction and essays that easily transformed into her own substantial literary works.

Jane Aiken Hodge charts the progress of Heyer’s novels and one short story, allowing glimpses of how her skill and talent evolved. Early in her career, she was more interested in the “marriage of minds rather than the marriage of four legs in a bed,” a focus that she managed with success. We also learn that Heyer’s real love was the medieval period. An Infamous Army was her favorite book, a romance leading up to the famous Battle of Waterloo, an account that was used at Sandhurst to teach military strategy. Financial pressures caused her to focus more on the elements of her stories and what the public wanted. Hodge’s explanations and analyses of Heyer’s fiction introduce the reader to a new examination of this notable author, one sure to fascinate lovers of Regency romances, thrillers, and historical fiction.