Weekly Reading Round-Up

Nobody does comic relief quite as elegantly as Georgette Heyer, the woman who invented the Regency romance. So, this week, in honor of Heyer’s birthday, I read two Heyer novels I had somehow missed out on over the years: Cotillion and Venetia.

If there are any Mischief of the Mistletoe fans out there, then hie yourself off to read Cotillion. There aren’t any Christmas puddings, but there is a hero who is quite definitely a close cousin to Turnip Fitzhugh (although Freddy would never be caught in a carnation embroidered waistcoat). The hero of Venetia is much more of the Lord Vaughn mode: mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Or, at least, everyone except the heroine thinks he is.

Right now, I’ve moved away from Regency London to the Scottish Highlands in the 1950s with A.D. Scott’s A Small Death in the Great Glen, the first in a mystery series recommended to me by the wonderful Barbara Peters of The Poisoned Pen, who came to the rescue with a long reading list once she learned I was going to be spending a lot of time pinned under an infant.* A Small Death in the Great Glen paints a richly textured picture of Highland life in the aftermath of World War II– and is making me want to go re-read my collection of Alexandra Raife novels (1990s Scottish women’s fiction), because Highlands.

What have you been reading this week?

*Side note: If you can’t make it to the Poisoned Pen in person, I highly recommend signing up for the Poisoned Pen newsletter or joining one of their book clubs. I’ve found so many good books that way.


  1. Diane (@bookchickdi) on August 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I’m reading Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage. It is so wonderful, I don’t want it to end.

  2. Stephanie Barron on August 25, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Love Freddie and all the Standens, and have a soft spot for Venetia, but my favorite Heyer remains SYLVESTER, because the heroine is secretly a writer of Horrid Romances and the Duke is a complex and flawed individual. Will have to check out the Glen.

    • Jessica C on August 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Cotillion is in my top 5 Heyers (probably would make top 3) – Freddie is SUCH a darling! (Sylvester is also in my top 3, and Frederica).

      Finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman this week, moved on to The Other Daughter (devoured that in 2 days it was so good) and just started Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – so far so good, loving the dry wit and subtle approach to magic.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I love “Sylvester”, too! The comic relief in that is so brilliant… particularly the trip to France at the end!

  3. LynnS on August 25, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I just finished Jenny Colgan’s The Cafe by the Sea. (Great recommendation, Lauren. Thanks.) The Forgotten Room and A Fall of Poppies are languishing in the TBR pile. I was ready to tackle them, but no. You had to go and recommend more books!set in Scotland! Why do you hate me? 🙂

    (Going over to Goodreads to add to my virtual TBR!)

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:28 am

      There’s something addictive about Scotland, isn’t there? I promised myself I would re-read a bunch of research books this week, but I’m fighting the urge to read through my old Alexandra Raife books.

  4. Laura on August 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Trying to get through Amanda Bouchet’s Breath of Fire (book 2 of the Kingmaker Chronicles). I mostly liked the first one, Promise of Fire, with some reservations but this second one has just been very slow going. Hopefully things pick up soon.

  5. LizC on August 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I’m about halfway through Charlie Lovett’s latest, The Lost Book of the Grail. The emphasis on history and books and libraries and cathedrals absolutely suits me down to the ground. Plus, Lovett’s storytelling skills are improving with each book. 🙂

    Earlier this week I also finished How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry, which I enjoyed even more than I expected to.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I just ordered “How to Find Love in Bookshop”! (I couldn’t resist the title.) Glad to know it’s worth it….

  6. Sheila on August 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Jane Green’s Sunshine Sisters, pretty good.

    Hepworth’s The Things we keep, wonderful

    And Ashley Gardner’s Captain Lacey book ( a great series) Murder in Grosvenor Square.

  7. Eirene Ritznore on August 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I’m reading, as per your recommendation last week, Barbara Michaels’ Wait for What Will Come. I too adore all things Cornwall, and after finishing Rona Randall’s Dragonmede earlier this week, was in the mood for another Gothic. I’ve never actually read anything by Barbara Michaels and am enjoying myself immensely with this one. Thanks for tell me about it.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Oooh, you have such joy in front of you with the whole Barbara Michaels oeuvre to read through! Try “The Crying Child” or “Witch” next, maybe.

      • Eirene Ritznore on August 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        I will definitely add those to my list (oh, woe is me! My list is ever increasing…) Haha.

  8. Angela on August 25, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I just finished the September issue of Vogue and I’m now starting Sisi by Allison Pataki. It’s about the second half of the life of Empress Sisi ( Accidental Empress is the first book). The approaching anniversary of Princess Diana’s death has got me reflecting on the parallels between the two of them and feeling rather melancholy.

  9. Ellen on August 25, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks to your recommendation I have begun the Merry Folger books and an loving it so far.
    P.S. I adore Georgette Heyer. You can’t go wrong there!

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you’re also enjoying the Merry Folger books!

  10. Jean on August 25, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Just started Cocoa Beach: A Novel by Beatriz Williams. Have read the first five or so A.D. Scott novels and enjoyed them enormously.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:30 am

      I’m trying to control myself and not binge read the rest of the series right away. I have a feeling this resolution will not last.

  11. Miss Eliza on August 25, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I read Wydling Hall for book club about a 70s folk band that goes to a big old house and something happens that changes them forever. It’s a great end of summer read! Now I’m Alpha reading a book for an author friend. After that I’ve got The Handmaid’s Tale in the pile.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

      You had me at “big old house”….

  12. Lynne on August 25, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    For anyone who loves Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series, the last – In Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service – will not disappoint. It turned out to have quite a few twists and was as good, if not better, than previous titles.

  13. DJL on August 26, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Read Georgette Heyer’s Quiet Gentleman (never read it before) and enjoyed, though not in my “top tier” list of Heyer novels: Sylvester, Frederica, Venetia, the Grand Sophy and Arabella are my top 5. And These Old Shades. And Devil’s Cub. Oh, and the Reluctant Widow. And Regency Buck. And Cotillion…oh, they’re all great!

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Okay, we definitely need to do a Top Five Heyers post here on the website.

  14. Tara on August 26, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Mischief of the Mistletoe has always been my favorite, so I’ll give Cotillion a try 🙂 I love how down-to-earth Turnip and Arabella are, and they are so perfect for each other.

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

      : ) Thanks, Tara!

  15. Rachel Adrianna on August 26, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I finished “Close Enough to Touch” by Colleen Oakley and it was so good! I have far too many books teetering on my bedside table right now, waiting to be read. All these suggestions will just make it higher 😉

  16. Betty Strohecker on August 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I read The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. Absolutely wonderful book about the settlement of Louisiana – 1719-1720. Intrigue, struggle, sacrifice.

  17. Alice on August 27, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Read The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. So so good. Very closely based on a true WWI spy group made up entirely of women. I couldn’t put it down!

    • Lauren on August 28, 2017 at 9:32 am

      That one’s been on my TBR for a bit now! Time to move it up the queue?

      • Alice on August 28, 2017 at 8:53 pm


  18. Tracy Grant on August 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Lauren, I can’t believe you hadn’t read “Venetia!” One of my all time favorite Heyers (along with “The Grand Sophy”, “And Infamous Army”, and “Sylvester”). I can quote scenes by heart (especially their reconciliation at the end :-). I agree Damerel is in the Lord Vaughn mode – they are two of my favorite heroes.

    I just read (and loved) “The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match.”

    • Lauren on August 29, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Isn’t it funny how things slip through? I think it’s because I collected most of my Heyers pre-internet: first at school book fairs (those 80s reprints with Judith McNaught quotes on the cover!), then in England when I was doing my research year, and back in the US when Harlequin did reprints in the early 2000s. So it was what the bookstore would bear…. And it never occurred to me that I might have missed one!

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