Every time I read Georgette Heyer, I get hit all over again by the fact she's actually really good at the Regency format in the generic sense, so good I don't really feel like it's generic no matter how paint by numbers it would be in any other author's hands. She just gets it right, and I know better--I do--but every time, I start sliding her into the Austen mode and then re-read something like Black Sheep and screech to a halt when the plot meticulously and properly goes from 'Regency standard but adorable shenanigans' to 'what the fuck just happened?'

It shouldn't happen anymore, and yet.

the black sheep and other shenanigans )

Georgette Heyer's works, ladies and gentlemen: sometimes, I think she basically chose a career of trolling the Regency genre just to see if anyone noticed.
Okay, I finally got A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer and braced myself to read it, as reviews were all positive, but from them, I learned I should not expect a great romance and it would be bittersweet, so I needed to be in the mood for that.

That was not true. I love everyone who told me it was awesome, but that was totally a romance.

Below: my defense of A Civil Contract as not just romance but Romance, and an awesome goddamn Romance. With farming!

(I have feelings, okay? Paragraphs of them. PARAGRAPHS. With citations! Because...Wednesday?)

spoilers, so many )

I am willing to take contrary arguments, but they're wrong, telling you right now. Romance, people. All the romance. With farming!

(Also, note: this entire plot was used by another author in To Catch an Earl by Rosina Pyatt, and when I say plot, I mean Harlequin version. If you've read it, compare and contrast to A Civil Contract; it's kind of hilarious, though yeah, it goes Harlequin very quickly, it still sticks to the outline (the differences are very, very Harlequin-additions). Like a lot.)
It's been a week in which I have determinedly re-read my Chase romance novels, as in general I love her heroines for being really awesome. However, she also has one of my favorite type of characters, which Georgette Heyer also used, and very few people get right, which is the not-all-that-bright-but-weirdly-almost-preternaturally-competent-in-their-field-of-choice character. Heyer did it with Freddie in Cotillion; for Chase, it is Bertie Trent in two of her novels and one of her short stories, and Rupert Carsington in Mr. Impossible.

there is just something about them )

Books Mentioned

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer - Amazon, $2.99

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $7.99

The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $6.99

Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $3.99

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $7.99

Family

My sister is in an Illuminati fever which admittedly is both hilarious and frightening. If anyone has any recs--I can't believe I'm writing that--I'd love some to give her. She spent an unsettling amount of time on youtube recently charting the influence of the Illuminati in music videos and consumer products, and while yes, I know this could end with me having a relative as an actual conspiracy theorist, I don't see this as necessarily a disadvantage. The conversations, at least, are fascinating.
Much, much recommended:

The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer - I love her work in general, but this one is fantastic. Hugo may be my favorite hero since Freddy in Cotillion, being sensible, practical, brilliant, and with an impossible sense of humor. And in a lovely turn of events, the heroine is just as sensible, extremely smart, and adorable.

Also, there are smugglers. And shootings. I am all about smugglers and shootings.
Via [personal profile] fyrdrakken in a comment, Georgette Heyer Kindle books are on sale (I mean, a lot of them) for 1.99.

The Talisman Ring -I'm linking directly because two different prices are showing up in search--this one is the 1.99.

Link to Georgette Heyer's Page

Also:
Arabella
Bath Tangle
Black Moth
Black Sheep
Beauvallet (set after Simon the Coldheart)
Charity Girl
Conqueror
Convenient Marriage
The Corinthian
Cotillion
Cousin Kate
The Devil's Cub (Alastair Chronicles 2)
False Colours
Faro's Daughter
Frederica
Foundling
Friday's Child
The Grand Sophy
Infamous Army (Alastair Chronicles 3)
Lady of Quality
Lord John
Masqueraders
The Nonesuch
The Quiet Gentleman
Powder and Patch
Regency Buck
The Reluctant Widow
Royal Escape
Simon the Coldheart ($1.79)
Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War
Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle
These Old Shades (Alastair Chronicles 1)
Venetia

...and all her contemporary mysteries that I skimmed through. Looks liki The Toll Gate is not on sale, and The Unknown Ajax and A Civil Contract are not yet available. Or Sprig Muslin.

Y'know, in case your Heyer collection needs updating or anything. I am not looking at my receipts right now, for the record.

ETA:

[personal profile] dine also notes they are available for Nook at Barnes and Noble and ePub at OmniLit.

ETA 2:
[livejournal.com profile] bendtothesun in comments linked to Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels that has a really amazing directory to the Heyer sale in all available formats here. Thank you!
Kindle E-Books From .99

And books!

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - 99 cents

Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase - $2.99

Okay, for context on this, these are part of a loose shared Regency universe.

1.) The Lion's Daughter
2.) Lord of Scoundrels
3.) Captives of the Night
4.) The Mad Earl's Bride (short story in Three Weddings and a Kiss, totally worth buying the book just for it
5.) The Last Hellion

The The Lion's Daughter is not even in print anymore and that makes me want to cry because the bad guy from that one is fated to be completed in Captives of the Night with him being atoney and heroic and I kid you not, solving mysteries for repentance and er, the hero who falls in love with an artist. Angsty, tragic backstory, sketchy background, overthrows pashas in his spare time, kidnapping....but now he works for teh British government and it's kind of hilarious.

I love all these books (except the first one, dammit, not having read it), but Captives is by tone and subject matter and character and plot completely different from most of Loretta's work and if you read Scoundrels and Captives back to back, it will be a hard 180. It's extremely complex both emotionally and plotwise and don't get me wrong, it's romantic as hell, but it's not Romance really; what it is about is two very scarred people who worked very hard to make themselves decent lives in horrific circumstances; Loretta's heroines are always fairly independent, but Leila is my favorite for how hard she worked to create herself and make the best of her life despite a ruined childhood and a hideous marriage to a monster before his death made everything fall apart; Ismal's a hero who literally was a monster once upon a time and then decided to change. Neither of them need saving in any practical way; what they want is to be free.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

And okay, my squee of the day...

Siren Song, Winter Song, Fire Song, and The Silver Mirror all by Roberta Gellis, all on Kindle, 1.49 each.

Also available is the entire Roselynde series, but it's not on sale yet and I'm still squeeing over these.

Okay, to explain; all of these are set during Henry III, and especially the second could be said to be, borrowing from [livejournal.com profile] hradzka with artistic license, it's woman inheriting keeps and organizing the shit out of them from the ground up. All three are very much focused on women being extremely competent, self-sufficient, and possessing a staggering number of skills in a time where in the lower nobility and knights your home is literally a castle also had to be the equivalent of an isolated town that had to provide pretty much everything you needed or you did without

One of my favorite things about Roberta's medieval books is how much time she spends showing women working; all her noble medieval heroines run one to several large castles, sit in justice, do budgeting and accounting, see to their textiles and sewing, riding out to visit serfs, oversee meals, food storage, are decent physicians, and basically outline (not all at once obviously) the daily life of a woman of the middle and lower noble classes where you had servants and serfs but not on the level of great wealth, vassals, and less direct responsibility for the household and more time to sit around reading poetry and being boring. Without really hard anachronistic behavior, she has some of the most interesting and hardworking women I've ever read who were raised and trained very thoroughly to be self-sufficient so as to get along fine while the men go off to war for years.

Honestly, these I'd recommend just for how well Roberta describes medieval women's lives and duties, especially when the story sets them in contrast with the lives of women in the upper nobility and royalty.

Not on sale, but also recommended is Great Maria by Cecilia Holland, which covers Maria's life from being the only daughter of a Norman knight in Italy who makes a living robbing people who are on pilgrimage to right before she and her husband's coronation. Also pretty much entirely a world of women with a fantastic view of Maria both running a variety of households as they slowly conqueror a large amount of Italy.

For me, I read them at a time I was very young and most of the books that focused on women also made them warriors or sorcerers or working against traditional gender roles as I saw them, or they were royalty/higher nobility; it was very cool to also have women who weren't secretly trained to be expert swordsmen or sent off to be mages or chosen to save a kingdom or being bartered in marriage in tight political situations on the cusp of battle being focused on and their work just as highly valued in the story and their roles to be shown as necessary. Not to mention realizing how much they actually did to assure everyone ate regularly, had decent clothes, were paid properly, oversee disputes, and have fascinating, full, interesting lives even if they didn't ride to war. Female competence in any role is awesome.
Having now read Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades and The Devil's Cub, I can say the woman is officially one of the few authors who does not often write the same story; I can honestly say the woman who wrote that was like, five million miles from Cotillion or Frederica like whoa.

These Old Shades has the distinction of reading for the entire Leon section like the creepist creepy-creeper slash in history. I kept stopping even knowing why it was happening because hello, as reader, I knew (I mean, I hoped at that point, because I was trapped within that narrative and wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror the next day with something like respect), but everyone else in the story didn't so what the hell, debauched French aristocrats? I get this was a different time period, and yes, I know the stories of what Louis XV's court was like, and the entire donkey and girl show of legend, but--

--seriously, the entire sitting at Monseigneur's feet while he stroked his page's face and talked gleefully--and often, let me point out--about how he owed him body and soul--I AM QUOTING--my God.

Even like, the Token Upright and Moral Friend is like "OMG SHOCKING" but I did not see him grabbing Leon and running, running, running for the hills either. Or for Champagne, anyway.

I recommend it on pure WTF AM I READING and because it's idfic at it's most blatantly glorious, Justin is so fucked up it's a surprise he stands upright, and all the characters are just not exactly lovable but it kind of doesn't answer because Georgette Goddamn Heyer must have had a blast writing it and you can damn well tell she was laughing into her very proper sheets every night.

The Devil's Cub, the sequel-ish about Justin and Mysterious I Will Not Name Heroine Because Spoilers's sociopathic offspring (if you read the first, you cannot be surprised by this), leaped upon my kinks like an Olympic gymnast Gold-medaling the trampoline--holy God, nothing she wrote ever hit like that.

good god )

unnerving quotes )

Ms Heyer, I salute you. You are brilliant.
Okay, so Georgette Heyer has officially become a hit or miss for me in reading--so far, I've hit three of her books that bored me to tears. Which is so depressing.

Still favorites: The Grand Sophy, Cotillion

Lots of fun: Faro's Daughter, Frederica, The Reluctant Widow

Okay but forgettable: The Nonesuch, The Corinthian

WTF: The Convenient Marriage, A Lady of Quality

Current in WTF: A Lady of Quality - holy God was that boring. I mean, it actually caused me physical pain to continue reading, mostly because I wanted to see if the two secondary characters would get married. Which they did not, but I hope they will; they were the only interesting people. Compared to how well she did Frederica, and Sophy was utterly, utterly brilliant a character, not to mention Cotillion's utter amazingness in breaking a lot of tropes regarding the hero in Regency Romance (Freddy: most awesomely practical, down to earth hero in history, and so well dressed while he did it!).

This is frustrating. Argh. I'm trying to nail down the difference besides characters, but I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the plot she shapes around each character. I can't tell which one she starts with in storytelling, but I have to admit, Lady of Quality doesn't irritate me as much as The Convenient Marriage (shudders) but at least that one was interesting.

I'm going to need to find a supplemental author for light reading--aka, anything I can read in under five hours. *sighs* Dammit.

Note: Georgette Heyer's romance novels contain sexism, classism, some racism, and occasional bouts of anti-Semitism in stereotyped fringe characters (I can remember only once, but it was freaking memorable), so readers be aware. It's historically accurate, but for me it was still really jarring and really unpleasant, even if it wasn't more than a couple of pages devoted to the plotline, it stuck with me.
Recently, due to aforementioned sulking, I've been reading.

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop, latest of the Black Jewels novels. Possibly, this is the least sexually violent of the books so far--I know! Weird!--and it's possibly my favorite (for totally non-related reasons, though I will admit a refreshing lack of flinching). The novel follows two separate plotlines; one about Cassidy, a Rose-jeweled queen who goes to Terreille to become a territory queen at the request of the descendants of the Gray Lady, as their Territory is a mess, and the second following Daemon and Saetan's continuing traumatic flashbacks. Okay, I love Saetan and Daemon and everything, but seriously, the Cassidy stuff is fantastic and I could have lived without the other, but of all the Jewel novels, I'm going to say this one is my favorite. Cassidy is awesome.

a bit more explanation )

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William Cohan, which is self-explanatory on what it is about. I'm not done yet, and I do not even pretend to know how accurate it is so far, but I picked this one up because Fortune had an excerpt a while back and I really loved reading it.

bit more here )

I have not yet read every Georgette Heyer Regency out there, but I am trying. So far:

Cotillion, Grand Sophy, The Nonesuch, The Corinthian, The Convenient Marriage, Frederica, False Colours, The Reluctant Widow. *grimly* I am trying. I will say, Cotillion and The Grand Sophy are my favorite, and I seriously loathed The Convenient Marriage like whoa. Really a lot. Like, DIAF to everyone. They were that annoying. Except oddly, the heroine's reprobate brother. He's kind of dim and sweet. I LIKE THE DIM, SWEET IDIOT WHO GAMBLES TOO MUCH. I mean, that's not a good sign.

Still in progress:

Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel by Colleen McCullough. I sort of need to be in a melodramatic mood to read the Masters of Rome series. Mostly because it just gets. More. Crazy. With. Every. Book. And people? I've been reading this series since I was fifteen years old. I have been reading this series over half my life. I also need to replace my paperback version of The First Man in Rome because it is now in several parts. In the inside cover is my name and the date I bought it. I treasure that.

...actually, I need to replace most of them, come to think. My mother borrowed these nad well, yeah.

Earth's Magic by Pamela Service, the YA King Arthur in the Post-Apocalyptic Future novels. Actually, in progress is it's prequel, Yesterday's Magic. There was this--thing. Wiht my bed and timespace.

A Short History of the Jewish People by Raymond P. Scheindlin. This one got lost for a while. it's a long and terrible story involving my bed and a strange series of events. (And timespace.)

Not Read Yet, Still Bracing Self:

Unmasked: An Erotic Tale of the Phantom of the Opera (I hate myself)
Master: An Erotic Novel of the Count of Monte Cristo (Don't judge me.)
House of Leaves (Like, I keep scaring myself with this one. IDEK.)
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (This is part of the terrible story involving my bed and a strange series of events. Possibly there is a timespace disturbance underneath? IDK.)

There is also a small pile of read Jane Austen sequels that make me hate myself, but I feel I should review them to warn people away. Some people have drugs. I have Jane Austen sequels as my kryptonite. Even when they are bad. Very, very bad.

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