Memories Schmemories...Book One, Regency Buck
Georgette Heyer, 1902-1974, is probably one of the main architects of the modern romance genre. Oh sure, there's always Jane Austen, but most modern authors will list Heyer as the one who most influenced their desire to write. She was first published at the age of eighteen and went on to write 51 more novels. She had the pseudonym of Stella Martin and published not only historical, but a few contemporaries and some mysteries. This is my favorite photograph of her, (I've only seen two, so the choice was a little limited.)

Now, on to the book: Regency Buck. Here's the plot, Judith and Peregrine Taverner are the wards of Julian, Lord Worth. Julian loves Judith at first sight, Judith hates Julian at first sight and someone is out to murder Peregrine. And, that's the plot.

To be honest, when I first started to read this book I became a little nervous, because somewhere in the last 30 odd years of reading romance novels, my brain has become lazy. And this book does not allow for a lazy brain. It was like watching Masterpiece Theater or a foreign film without the subtitles. But, once I found Ms. Heyer's rhythm, I became engrossed in the language of the book.

When I say language, I mean the jargon, cant, descriptions of places and historical people that fill this book (and let me tell you almost every famous person from Regency England puts in an appearance.)

Instead of a gown and bonnet with a yellow ribbon, we have a "plain round gown of French cambric, frilled round the neck with scalloped lace; and a close mantle of twill sarcenet. A Poke-bonnet of basket-willow with a striped velvet ribbon rather charmingly framed her face." Instead of snuff, we have a room filled with "lead canisters, labeled with queer-sounding names as Scholten, Curacao, Masulipatam, Bureau, Demi-gros, Bolongaro, Old Paris." We have a place called the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks (loved that one.) There are cravats and quizzing glasses galore...oh, how I miss the quizzing glass. There are two pages of a cock fight, which ends with a brawl and amusing shouts of "Drawn his cork! Fib him, guv'nor! Let him have a bit of home-brewed!" By the way the bird dies (so much for 21st century sensibilities.) And while we are on the subject, nothing in this book is politically correct.

My favorite line comes from the hero while talking to the villain "The scruples of persons of your kidney are, alas, hidden from me." I don't know why, but I loved that line and I want to use it someday. I'm sure it will be impressive, probably stop people in their tracks.

Now, for the romance part of the book. If you blink you'll miss it. First of all, (and here is where some of that lazy brain comes in) Julian has no POV (point of view). And, talk about enigmatic heroes, Julian is enigmatic with a capital E. If not for the occasional lift of the eyebrow or softening of the face, you'd never know he was in love. No twitching, throbbing manroots in this book! Judith, on the other hand, does have an occasional POV and there is a pivotal scene after she has done something incredibly stupid that is very well written.

Would I recommend this book? In my humble opinion, this is probably not one of Ms. Heyer's best. However, I believe everyone should read at least one of her books. And, I'd also suggest not reading them all at once; they're better in small doses. So, I've included a list of twelve of her books, compliments of the All About Romance website. My favorite on this list is Venetia; reminds me of Putney's The Rake.

Ms. Heyer was famous for creating her own slang to fill her books and I'm sure this book was packed with her creations. Of course this means it probably weren't historically correct, but you know what, I didn't really care. This book is not a romance as I know them to be anymore, however it did take me back in time. Now, whether it took me back to Regency England or England of the 1930 might be up for discussion; but, in the end it didn't matter because it was good to visit an old friend again...Here's to you Georgette! And thanks!

Time Period: Regency England (real Regency England)
Rating: Romance:
Sensuality Rating: Kiss

List of recommendations:
Devil's Cub, 1934 sequel to These Old Shades (An Infamous Army and Regency Buck are sequels to Devil's Cub)
The Grand Sophy, 1950
Frederica, 1965
Venetia, 1958
These Old Shades, 1926
Arabella, 1949
The Masqueraders, 1928
Sylvester, Or the Wicked Uncle, 1957
Faro's Daughter, 1941
Cotillion, 1953
The Nonesuch, 1962
The Unknown Ajax, 1959


Delia said...

Kay, your bold lettered "No twitching..." almost popped my staples! Thanks! BTW, I read a book last week (I need to get that title) that wasn't bad but the use of the verb "nark" (meaning to tattle) annoyed me since it was an historical and "nark" comes from "narcotics officer."

SidneyKay said...

Wait till you read about the one I found with the current book I'm reading.