Heyer for Beginners

As a salutary side-effect of the Heyer mini-contest, a number of people have asked me which Heyer they ought to read first. Tough question, no?

My first Heyer was The Nonesuch, but, much as I love it, I’m not sure that’s the one I’d pick for a Heyer intro. It’s more intermediate Heyer. When teaching this past term, I assigned Regency Buck, since it was Heyer’s first excursion into the Regency (she’d been writing Georgians) and contains more detail than her others about the minutiae of the Regency world we all love so well. Having said all that, when push comes to shove, I’d probably pick Arabella as a Heyer gateway drug.

Which Heyer would you recommend for a newbie?


  1. Angie on June 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    The Corinthian is the first one I read and I found it to be so charming and fun! I would certainly recommend it 🙂

  2. Katelin on June 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you so much! I’ve been wanting to get into Heyer but she has so many books that I was totally overwhelmed.

  3. KathrinH on June 30, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Arabella was actually my first foray into the world of Georgette Heyer and I absolutely loved, so I would definitely second your recommendation 🙂

  4. Christine on June 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I have been suckered in. Just put a hold on Arabella at the library.

  5. Rachel on June 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    My first one was A Civil Contract, because it was the only one my library had at the time (thankfully, their selection has improved :)) I do NOT recommend that – my “real” first one was The Grand Sophy, which is absolutely fantastic, but I think there are others that give new readers an appreciate of the great Georgette faster – like, yes, Arabella and definitely Frederica

  6. Brittanie on June 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I think Bath Tangle was my first Heyer. It was an easy amusing read.

  7. Chanpreet on June 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    This is completely off the topic, but I just read an article on a lock of Napoleon’s being sold at auction for $13,100. Since Napoleon is enemy #1 for The Pink Carnation and you have a degree in history, I thought it’d be interesting to post the link and let you know.

  8. am7 on June 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    For Regency Arabella is a good choice, although Lady of Quality was my first and a favorite of mine. Others have said it was there first and seems to make people fall in love.
    As much as I love Regency, Georgette Heyer also made the Georgian time her own. Some of her best essential works, such as These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub. These Old Shades would be a great choice, Leonie being one of her most wonderful and well-loved characters.
    Finally go to google and type in Georgette Heyer and find GeorgetteHeyer.com. (I have trouble posting weeks.) Once on the site go to the list of her novels. Find her first novel The Black Moth (a favorite). This novel is almost a precursor to These Old Shades, characters are similar. the best part is click on full text and the novel is there on-line complete and unabridged. I prefer real books, but this is a nice option. If you need to find one fast and cheap, or I like to read it when I feel bad and don’t have another loved book on hand.

  9. Yvette on June 30, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks “am7”! I have not checked that webiste in donkey’s years, but I have an idea as to why The Black Moth is available online so easily – because it IS her first novel. It is now old enough that all possibility of copyright has expired. It is now part of the great “public domain” – along with other great works by people like Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and some of Mary Roberts Rinehart. I agree that the Black Moth would be a great first read, and its amazing to think that she was just a teenager when she wrote it.

  10. Rebecca on July 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I definitely recommend Faro’s Daughter and False Colours, which are two of my absolute favorites.

  11. Jessica C on July 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

    The Black Moth was my first Heyer (well, I read 3 in three days, but the Black Moth was the first one of the three that I read). It’s a good introduction into her Georgian novels. For Regency, I’d pick Lady of Quality or Arabella.

  12. Sarah on July 1, 2010 at 9:07 am

    These Old Shades, it’s the first I read and it remains my favourite. Although I love Faro’s Daughter too.

  13. Liz on July 1, 2010 at 11:11 am

    My first Georgette Heyer was Regency Buck, so I’d highly recommend that. It definitely got me hooked!

  14. Sheila on July 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I think they would all be great, but best not to start with An Infamous Army or the Spanish Bride, as they are a bit different. If you read Devil’s Cub before These Old Shades, you will enjoy it, but will trip over yourself getting to Shades to find out about Leonie and Avon. BTW, Does anyone know what These Old Shades refers to? Ghosts , maybe?

    Happy reading evryone.

  15. Lyne on July 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I’m sorry but I found Arabella a complete bore (Thank God for Ulysses to save the day) and I wouldn’t recommend it as a first Heyer.

    Sylvester, Cotillion and The Convenient Marriage (Though Georgian not Regency) would be my suggestion

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