Hi, all! Abusing my royal authority as Queen of this Website, I am unilaterally extending the virtual Heyer Tea Party (and Mini-Contest) to Wednesday, to give more people a chance to partake. Winners will be announced on July 1st.
Okay, I admit, I liked the symmetry of ending the contest with the month.
For a chance to win an advance copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe— and opine on your favorite Heyer– just click here.
My first Heyer, believe it or not, was _Simon the Coldheart_, and I didn’t know it was a “Heyer”–was surprised when I tracked it down years later. My favorites in the romance Heyers are _The Masqueraders_, another early read, and _The Grand Sophy_ and _Venetia_, which still make me laugh every time I read them. She had such a light touch in those, just lovely. Last year I taught a seminar in the evolution of the romance genre and taught _Sylvester_ in company with _Pride and Prejudice_ so that we could look at how Heyer played with genre conventions. (That’s also when I learned she pronounced it ‘Hair’…] I’m glad that so many of the Heyers are back in print now; I have all of them, thanks to a lot of digging in UK used book shops over the years, and am glad so many more readers are discovering this wonderful writer.
So, I haven’t read very much of Heyer yet, but I have about 4 of her books with such beautiful covers. My favorite is _an infamous army_, a book about love lost and regained amidst the backdrop of the Battle of Waterloo. I love it because of how it characterizes the respect and admiration that grows between the principal female characters–Barbara and Judith, how it shows Barbara’s realization of what is true in her heart once faced with the horrors of war, and how it depicts of with perfect detail and eloquence. True British grit is seen in one’s ability to laugh at the death and pain of war–whistling in the dark–so to speak–even while acknowledging the despair. Key quotes that show this:
“My love, when a man begins to think of shaving you may take it from me that he is on the road to recovery.”
…And after it has become known that Colonel Audley has lost his left arm…
“One would say he had been blown in pieces by a howitzer shell to look at your faces! Cheer up, Bab! Why, I once shot a man just above the heart, and he recovered!’
`That must have been a mistake, sir, I feel sure.”
`It was,’ he admitted. `Only time I ever missed my mark.”
Amusing and chilling at the same time–and all the more memorable because of it. The books is chock full of moments that make you shudder yet are so beautifully written and with such wit.