Anticipatory Reads: Georgette Heyer

A librarian friend of mine drew my attention to an upcoming talk on Jane Austen and her influence on regency romance and crime novelist extraordinaire, Georgette Heyer. The talk, “Witty Women: Jane Austen’s Influence on Georgette Heyer’s Regency Novels” is being given by Dr. Jennifer Kloester (author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and the soon-to-be-published Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller) and is hosted by the New York chapter of the Jane Austen Society–which I was previously unaware of–this coming Monday, June 27. (Interested? See the full lecture description and register here.)

Given that I have suddenly discovered my affection for Jane Austen novels and moreover, had a Georgette Heyer novel (albeit a mystery, not a romance) on my bookshelf just waiting to be read, I’m taking the opportunity to become familiar with Ms. Heyer, reputedly “the next best thing to reading Jane Austen” and quite a cult favorite in her own right. I’ve started with The Unfinished Clue, which is, thus far, just delightful, and was able to snag two other Heyer paperbacks–Cousin Kate and Death in the Stocks–from a used bookstore on a whim.

Since I’m generally a fan of crime novels, Heyer is particularly intriguing: it’s not every day that you find a beloved romance novelist who specializes in historical, Regency-era dramas who is also a well-known mystery author. It will be interesting to see how (if) Heyer’s apparent love of Jane Austen informed her crime writing as well as her romances. I’ll report back on the matter soon.

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