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The Private World of Georgette Heyer Paperback – International Edition, May 23, 2006

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"One of the most beautiful books I know" Washington Post Book World "A fascinating biography of Georgette Heyer, one that deserves reading just as much as Heyer's novels" Courier Mail

About the Author

Jane Aiken Hodge has written twenty-one historical novels, eight contemporary detective stories, a life of Jane Austen and a study of the lives of Regency women. Born in America, she grew up in England but also worked fo rthe British Government in Washington D.C. and Time Magazine in New York. Married twice, she has two daughters and two granddaughters and now lives in Lewes, Sussex.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099493497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099493495
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,986,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on November 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jane Aiken Hodge wrote the first critical perspective of Heyer's books, and it is one of the most useful books. Not only is it an insight into Georgette Heyer's world, but also a glimpse into her own life. Hodge had access to her diary's and notebooks, a privilege not extended to anyone else until Mary Fahnstock Thomas did her critical perspective. (Also very good)

The Private World of Georgette Heyer should be put into perspective. It shows the development of Heyer's writing, from the first episodic book she wrote for her brother (Black Moth) and published at the age of 17, to her experiment with modern novels (all suppressed) to her experiments with writing mysteries, historical novels, her movement into her most famous genre, Regency Romances, and finally to the works she considered her most eponymous - that is of Medieval fiction. Her last work was left unfinished, and was published as such. It is perhaps her most disliked by her modern readers.

Heyer is also perhaps not necessarily recognised by the wider public as the woman who spawned the Regency Romance genre. She was badly copied by the likes of Barbara Cartland, but as Heyer's fans know, Heyer did hours of painstaking research on her subjects. Hodge does an excellent job of showing this in this book. Some of the illustrations Heyer copied from books and magazines in the British Library are reproduced, but more usefully, Hodge goes through each book and allows a chapter for it and Heyer's life at the time. Usually there is a struggle with the Inland Revenue involved as Heyer seemed to have to write to pay the tax bills more often than not.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Miss Tea on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
The private world of Georgette Heyer was always firmly and politely closed to her reading public; she denied all interviews, was reluctant even to be photographed, and limited her publicity work to writing blurbs for advertising campaigns. Surviving family, friends, and the literary estate continue to honor the author's preference, leaving only open records, publisher correspondence, and the books themselves to speak for their creator. Hodge's book is the better for this; the private world of the title relates to the literary world that Heyer created, and Hodge tells the story of the author's literary career, offering only a broad sketch of the events of Heyer's life and limiting her speculation into emotional states. Hodge's careful reading of the Heyer ouevre and Heyer's correspondence surrounding the creation and marketing of her books allows fans (and literary scholars) to eavesdrop on a lifelong literary career, offering insights into a woman with a keenly intelligent mind, passionate opinions, fastidious manners, and highly ambivalent views about her own work and its readers. The portrait is drawn without judgment (Hodge leaves that to the reader) and her prose is clear, well-structured, and as readable as Heyer's own. In a tone both fond of and perceptive about its subject, without requiring any recourse to gossip, scandal, or salacious tidbits (which Heyer herself would have no doubt abhorred!), Hodge's biography is both an interesting overview of the Heyer canon and a respectful portrait of the woman who created it. I particularly enjoyed the illustrations that brought the private world of Heyer's beloved Regency romances to light.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed reading books by Heyer for many years now and have read all of her Regency books. Therefore, I was very interested to read this biography. If you are a Heyer fan you will find many things of interest throughout the book. I especially liked the pictures from her journals showing her meticulous research into all matters of fashion of the day. I also enjoyed that the author, Jane A. Hodge, wrote with affection for the Heyer books and presented insight into what was happening in the life of the author when she was writing them. If you enjoy reading the Heyer books, you will enjoy reading Hodge's informative biography.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lavanya Ramanujan on October 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read Heyer off and on growing up and rediscovered them a while ago. Surfing the local library catalogue, I bumped into this book and found it fascinating. The world Heyer built was charming and perfect, where manners and propriety is must and wit is romance. Its the world I like to escape into and Hodge does homage to both the creator and the works respectful of Heyer's sentiments. Her style of analysing and studying the books chronologically makes a splendid approach to following Heyer's life and work as an author. However, while doing so she does not reveal much about the plot itself, but definitely does let you in on what it must have taken - research and otherwise - for Heyer to have produced it.

It is well written and exposes Heyer only as much as she herself might have allowed. I thought it a novel way to write about an author who put so much of herself (essence of herself rather) in her books. Through out the book, you see Heyer herself evolving, as you see her family grow and surround her.

I would recommend this book - in fact go so far as to say it is a must - for any Heyer fan. The other author it made me think of is Edgar Wallace. In fact, I found a curious reference to him in the book - his daughter was Mrs.Frere, a close friend of Heyer.
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