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Georgette Heyer Paperback – January 1, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Georgette Heyer was a publicist’s worst nightmare. She refused to grant interviews, rarely answered fan mail, and firmly believed that her personal life was nobody’s business but her own. Yet she became one of the most popular novelists of the twentieth century, and her Regency romances are now considered classics in the genre. Though Kloester’s is not the first biography of Heyer—credit for that literary achievement goes to Jane Aiken Hodge, whose The Private World of Georgette Heyer (1984) was recently reprinted by Sourcebooks—Kloester, the author, too, of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World (2010), spent 10 years researching Heyer. Granted unlimited access to private papers, Kloester also mined a newly discovered archive of Heyer’s early letters for insight into this very private writer. She effectively builds on Hodge’s biography by providing extensive details on Heyer’s entire literary output, including her contemporary novels, historical fiction, and mysteries, as well as covering her often-stormy relationships with her publishers and agents. The result is an absorbing and enlightening biography, a must-read for Heyer fans and all who cherish Regency romances. --John Charles


"A superb portrayal of one of my all-time favorite writers. As engaging as a novel to read and containing a wealth of fascinating new material, I found the Heyer biography utterly engrossing." - Anne Gracie, award-winning author of Bride By Mistake

"Kloester has opened the door on one of the most private literary icons of the past century, one whose works made and continue to make a lasting impression on readers worldwide. Meticulously researched and supported, Kloester's study is both sympathetic and exact, and paints a finely detailed portrait of the woman behind the books. An engaging, intriguing, absorbing read-history is rarely this entertaining!" - #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens

"A vivid and highly readable portrait of a woman whose wit and keen social insight reshaped twentieth century fiction. As a writer whose work has been powerfully influenced by Heyer, I loved reading about her, her professionalism, and her own lasting real life romance. This biography should be required reading for all lovers of Regency novels." - Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of No Longer A Gentleman

"With rare access to Heyer's private papers as well as the newly identified letters, Kloester perceptively analyzes Heyer's novels... This well-written, thoroughly researched biography is more detailed than Jane AIken Hodge's The Private World of Georgette Heyer. Heyer enthusiasts and readers interested in popular romantic historical fiction or the Regency period of English literature will enjoy this." - Library Journal

"meticulously reserached..." - Kirkus

"The result is an absorbing and enlightening biography, a must-read for Heyer fans and all who cherish Regency romances." - Booklist

"Heyer's devotees will be charmed by this engaging tour of the author's world. Kloester wisely allows all facets of Heyer's personality to emerge, depicting a feisty, humorous, accomplished woman who is more interesting than her own fictional characters. " - The Washington Post

"If you are a fan of the Regency period, and/or of Georgette Heyer, you will find this biography interesting and informative. Perhaps, like myself, you will be reading or re-reading Georgette's novels upon finishing Kloester's work." - A Garden Carred in the Pocket

"A well-written look at one of the 20th century's most beloved authors.
" - Scandalous Women

"An admirably unmelodramatic tour through a life and work." - The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402271751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402271755
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have a love of Georgette Heyer's Regency and Georgian novels that spans 45+ years. Her first book, The Black Moth, written when she was just 17, is easily 90 years old yet Heyer's language and characters don't get stale or dated like other old books. She was an incredible world builder. Heyer controlled her Regency world like Disney controlled his theme parks. Nothing of the Regency she didn't want ever made it into her fiction. But what did was totally, sparklingly genuine, historically accurate, and entirely absorbing.

Jennifer Kloester has done an amazing job in giving us an absorbing, real, comprehensive and engaging account of Georgette Heyer. In her time it was quite easy for Heyer to remain out of the public eye, so before this biography, there was very little known about her with the exception of Jane Aiken Hodge's biography.

Kloester lays out Heyer's life in such detail and shows us her personality and humanity, I was able to discern things that motivated her, and wonder about other things that weren't so clear. Her first "crush" was "Cappy" Pullein-Thompson, 16 years older than her, who married one of her few close friends. It seems to me he and her father, George Heyer, were the basis for her charismatic, older hero archetypes (These Old Shades, Regency Buck, Arabella, Frederica). Kloester takes the time to limn George Heyer and he leaps from the pages as an amazingly talented man of character who was well-liked, a brilliant teacher, poet, business manager and successful fund-raiser, and who was responsible for the formation of Georgette Heyer's mind, world view,independence, and for developing and encouraging both her brilliance and work ethic. But she says very little of Pullein-Thompson.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a must read for die-hard Heyer fans. Incredibly detailed, the book tells of Georgette's life through a meticulously researched and fascinating read. Apart from the chronology of Heyer's book writing and process, there is the biographical aspect that brings you right into her life.

Who was this clever author who's ongoing captivating writing has us all hooked? What was she like? In GEORGETTE HEYER, author Jennifer Kloester reveals a woman who, contrarily to her very reserved exterior persona, spoke through her characters; allowing them to feel and express as she may never have been able to do so herself.

The book is filled with interesting aspects that bring you closer to understanding Georgette Heyer. For instance, I was surprised to read that she didn't accept any opinions on her books, except those from her husband. He was the only one whose opinion she trusted. She also allowed him to help her with the plots.
As a writer of historical fiction, Georgette was brilliant and after reading this excellent book I am of the opinion that her sparks of genius were also mirrored by bouts of eccentric thoughts. For instance, when Georgette was ill, and at some point it happened rather frequently- she would immediately think that death was imminent.

Indirectly, through Georgette Heyer's letters, much of what she felt was revealed and these also formed the basis by which we discover the depth of her person. I learnt so much about her life and her work! This gem is sure to satisfy all curiosity on the famous author- it does not disappoint. I highly recommend GEORGETTE HEYER, by Jennifer Kloester- it's extremely well researched and offers a wealth of info that's fascinating to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Expecting an interesting life of private adventure and an engaging personality, instead it seems Miss Heyer's life was a dreary sameness of financial worries (every chapter), tending to somebody sick, sick herself, and complaining about taxes (not that I blame her, at those rates I'd fuss, too). Miss Kloester isn't at fault -- you can't have an exciting biography when the subject is so doggedly dull. The most extraordinary thing I learned about Miss Heyer is how very ordinary she herself was and numbingly boring to read about.

This bio does have great merit in the meticulous listing of Miss Heyer's work, both novels and short stories, and is best when discussing the times in which Heyer lived rather than Heyer herself. Heyer proves you don't need to live an interesting life in order to write fun books. A biography should convey a sense of personality and the times in which the subject lived -- Miss Kloester does a good job of that and I feel I gained a great deal of insight about Heyer; mostly that she wrote from creative need and especially because it was easy money for her.

I don't feel that this biography was a waste of money, but do believe that unless someone just has a burning curiosity about Heyer's financial struggles and mundane details, then Miss Kloester's other book detailing the Regency period itself may be more satisfying to a fan of Heyer's romances.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a devoted Georgette Heyer fan, I was anxious to read this new biography, based in part on private papers that were made available for the first time. As a devoted fan, however, the biography did not add to my appreciation of Miss Heyer's writings. That's not Ms. Kloester's fault. Her book is obviously carefully researched, and it is well written. Moreover, it relies on actual evidence rather than on speculation.

The problem is Ms. Heyer herself. First, she was intensely and determinedly private, which limits the amount of information on her life that is available. The evidence that is available -- in abundance -- is correspondence with her publishers and with her agents. But what that provides is mostly a great deal of information about her progress with books, her relations with her publishers, and her financial affairs. Ms. Heyer's private life appeared only infrequently in these letters, and the record of her life that they do provide -- this book, that problem with a publisher, the other difficulty with the tax authorities -- is less than thrilling.

Second, Ms. Heyer does not seem to have had much emotional complexity, particularly as she aged; if she did she was stunningly sucessful at hiding it. The author cites singularly insensitive letters that Ms. Heyer wrote, and implies a lack of attention to her son. Ms. Heyer did fulfill family duties, but if she did so out of fondness rather than obligation, it's not obvious. She seems to have been narrow minded about anyone outside the British upper middle and upper classes, with Americans, Jews, her fans, poor people and other regrettable types coming in for criticism. That's consistent with her time and place, but it's still not likeable.
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