All Things Georgette

Why I (still) Read Georgette Heyer

I’ve had a fortunate life but I still find it hard sometimes – I mean, who doesn’t? Unexpected things happen (like worldwide pandemics!), people let you down, things don’t turn out as planned, and hurt and tragedy come to all of us. I spent six of the last eight years in chronic pain – the kind that kept me tossing and turning for hours when I should have been sleeping and which made daily life very difficult. I tried every suggested remedy and saw all kinds of medicos before I finally found relief through weight training. During those challenging years, one escape from pain was laughter. And a writer I can always depend on to make me laugh aloud is Georgette Heyer (you can peruse her books here).

The remarkable world created by the inimitable Georgette Heyer
The remarkable world created by the inimitable Georgette Heyer led me to write Georgette Heyer’s Regency World

Though I’ve written two books about her and read her novels countless times, Heyer’s stories always feel fresh to me. She’s so brilliant with dialogue and her characters are alive. Her plots are often ingenious and her sense of humour is delicious. Just thinking about some of her stories makes me smile. The Unknown Ajax for example. During those pain-filled years I was gifted an Audible subscription. I discovered, among other great Heyer audio books, the  wonderful Daniel Philpott reading The Unknown Ajax.

The unforgettable and very funny Unknown Ajax
The unforgettable and very funny Unknown Ajax

Actually, ‘reading’ doesn’t come near to describing his rendition of this brilliant book. I don’t think I’d ever fully appreciated the genius of Heyer’s plot and characters in The Unknown Ajax until I heard it read aloud by Mr Philpott. He’s a genius with accents and his broad Yorkshire is superb. He makes each character distinct and the ending is magnificent. Though I’ve read the novel a dozen times, I laughed as though hearing it for the very first time. An incredible escape from trouble and pain – as good books always are. These days I re-read Georgette Heyer for pure pleasure but, as so many of her readers know, she’s a shining light in the dark (pandemic) times too.

Georgette Heyer's bestselling novels
Georgette Heyer’s bestselling novels

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2 thoughts on “Why I (still) Read Georgette Heyer”

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the comfort value of Heyer’s novels. But I can’t agree with you about Daniel Philpott’s reading of Ajax. I found it wooden and unintelligent and his “Yorkshire” accent dreadful! When you compare his reading with some of the superb readers of Heyer such as Phyllida Nash, Sian Phillips and Eve Matheson – who does brilliant “Yorkshire” in The Nonesuch – it is such a shame that he was selected to read Ajax, one of my favourites. Sadly it seems to be the only audio version too. Ah well, let’s be grateful to Heyer for hours of pleasure and escape.

    1. But that’s okay. We all read and hear differently and I guess that’s why so many people have different favourite Heyers. I have a friend who loves My Lord John… Daniel Philpott is from Yorkshire and I do think his John Joseph is excellent. I totally agree with you about Phillida Nash and I adore Juliet Stevenson and wish she would read all my favourite Heyers! I guess they chose a man for Ajax because it’s a male-centric novel. I’d be happy if they had Richard Armitage read unabridged versions of
      the novels too. Thanks for posting Katy. I hope you enjoy the posts to come.

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