Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In Case You Missed It - The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Published: 2009 reprint
Originally published: 1950
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
# pages: 368
Summaries: Goodreads

"When Sophy goes to stay with her cousins in Berkeley Square, she finds them in a sad tangle of affairs – some romantic and others of a more pecuniary nature. Perhaps the Grand Sophy has arrived just in time to save them."

"Newly arrived from her tour of the Continent, Sophia Stanton-Lacy invites herself into the circle of her relatives, the Ombersleys, and soon Charles Rivenhall, the Ombersley heir, vows to rid his family of her by marrying her off."


Ok, so I can hear some of you saying 'Why on earth is Curlypow reviewing a book published in 1950, that isn't a classic." Short answer - in my humble opinion it should be a classic. This is one of the best historical romances you will find. And there is no sex, no dating, not even any kissing, unless it's on the hand! Believe me though, it's brilliant.

Georgette Heyer wrote somewhere between 50 and 60 books, and a great number of them are 'Regency Romances'. She is really the queen of regency romance. Her descriptions of clothing, food, balls, etc. are absolutely spot on for the period, and many people consider her the person responsible for the early popularity of this type of novel. So how did she do it without even a kiss? Very subtly. Her characters have speaking glances, witty conversation and subtle gestures and nuances. There is nothing overly obvious. Most of us wouldn't have a clue how to behave in those times. We would seem terribly crude. Many of her books have younger heroines falling for older men - this happened at that time in history. It may seem strange now, but it was perfectly normal in the early 1800's. (She doesn't fall for a much older man in this one, don't worry.)

This particular book was originally published in 1950, and I first read it as a teenager. The copy I read was published in 1972. Check out the cover.

In case you are wondering what is on the girls' shoulder, it is a monkey. Yes I know, it sounds ridiculous, but she brings a monkey from South America as a present for her cousins. Sophy is the kind of girl that I wanted to be at 16. Fun, confident, tall, beautiful, full of spirit - just about everything I wasn't. But my favourite thing about her was her ability to see the good, and the bad, in people. She has a heart of gold. It's a beautiful romantic story and I'm sure some of you will love it. It's worth reading just for the historical aspect alone. Think we have it bad now - wait until you read what girls had to put up with 200 years ago.

In this story, Sophy is newly arrived in London from South America, where she has been staying with her diplomat father. She is thrust upon her aunt, whom she has never met, and is introduced to a handful of cousins. Sophy is quite unlike anyone they have ever known before. She has to rescue one from the clutches of a money-lender. Another has to be disuaded from running away with a poet. The eldest cousin, Charles, has to be convinced somehow that his bride-to-be is all wrong for him, and then she has to find a husband for herself. Lots of fun ensues, and you will be thoroughly delighted with the outcome.

I own all of her books and I read them over and over, especially when I'm feeling rotten and I want a pick-me-up - but this one is my favourite. If you do decide to read it, let me know what you think, I really would like to know.

1 comment:

  1. That monkey just makes the cover, along with the lord's slightly-bored-yet-reluctantly-intrigued expression. Got to say the re-issue is a definite improvement!